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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook 1990
Year 1990, Volume 2 (1990)

Pittman, Tom L.
Alaska,   pp. [54]-70 ff. PDF (3.5 MB)

Page 58

  markets and about one-half of it was58  ALASKA—1990150 St per
to 300 st per day - by mid-1992. Fairbanks Gold Ltd. continued trenching,
drilling, -and bulk sampling at its large low-grade open pit gold prospect
northeast of Fairbanks. The property was offered for sale to a company capable
of bringing the deposit to production. Fairbanks Gold continued exploration
of a large low-grade gold deposit near Flat. 
Citigold Alaska Inc. ,operator of the Ryan Lode gold mine on Ester Dome,
diamond drilled the main lode system and started exploration on another lode
system west of the Ryan Lode. American Copper Nickel Co. continued exploring
the Grant Mine on Ester Dome, west of Fairbanks. After 3 years' work, the
company determined the Ptarmigan Hiliprospect in the Seventy Mile River area
was uneconomic. Tenneco Minerals Co. replaced Placer Dome as operator at
the Dry Creek gold lode prospect just north of Nome. There was also active
exploration at the Mount Distin gold lode prospect about 20 miles north of
Nome. Cominco Alaska Inc. is drilling an original discovery, the Pebble Beach
lowgrade copper-gold deposit, north of Illiamna. There were many other companies
involved in lode and placer exploration projects in Alaska. Information is
incomplete on exploration on Native lands. Claim or lease registrations on
Native lands is not required at State or Federal government agencies. 
Land was withdrawn from mineral entry by the provision for 296,000 acres
of Wilderness and by some other sections of the Tongass Timber Reform Act.
The scheduled revision of the Tongass Land Management Plan by the U.S. Forest
Service recognized the importance of minerals as a natural resource. It provided
minerals prescriptions covering several of the 52 areas suggested by the
U.S.Bureau of Mines. The Alaska Science and Technology Foundation was formed
to assist the economy of the State by providing matching funds for viable
projects. Goldstream Exploration Inc. of Fairbanks applied for an4 received
a grant to construct and run a trial operation on a placer mining system
that would process about 40 cubic yards per hour of feed. The system operated
in 1990 and met State and Federal reclamation and water quality requirements,
as specified in the design submittal. A larger plant is planned for operation
in 1991. There is a shortage of experienced people with mining and milling
experience in Alaska and the resurgence of underground and open pit hard
rock mining has required bringing in help from outside of the State. Two
programs associated with the university system have been organized to furnish
basic vocational training for entry-level mineral industry jobs. The Institute
of Mining Technology - (MIT) of -the University of Alaska, Southeast, is
based in Juneau and operates as a partnership between the University and
the mining industry. MIT has had good cooperation from a local underground
mine that treats a complex base-precious metals ore in a 1 ,000 tons per
-day selective flotation mill. It also works closely with two other companies
exploring local underground gold-silver mines and planning on flotation/cyanide
mills with capacities of 4,000 St per day arid 22,500 St per day. The Mining
and Petroleum Training Service (MAPTS) is situated in Soldotna. MAPTS training
serves southcentral Alaska and is organized to furnish basic vocational training
for oilfield, refinery, and mining jobs. There is more emphasis on placer
mining than at MIT. The State reports job placements for over 80 % of the
graduates from these training programs. The graduates have had the necessary
training from certified instructors to meet the Mine Safety and Health Administration
standards for minerals industry employment. 
Usibelli Coal Mine Inc. operated the only really commercial scale coal mine
in Alaska. Usibelli sold about 1,576,000 tons of subbituminous-C coal worth
about $45 million. The coal supplied Alaskan 
exported to the Korean Electric Power Co. in Honam, South Korea. The company
sold coal to Alaskan powerplants and other users for about 40 years before
it began exporting coal in 1984. The coal has a very low sulfur content but
is high in ash and moisture. It will require cleaning and reduction of the
moisture content to become generally competitive outside of Alaska. The Healy
Clean Coal Project has proposed building an upgrading unit and a modem minemouth
powerplant at Healy to lower the ash and moisture in the coal as export considerations
and to demonstrate the advantages of firing a clean low-sulfur fuel. Usibelli
drilled 6,300 feet of auger and reverse-circulation holes for exploratory
and hydrologic studies, according to the State survey. 
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority applied to the Department
of Energy for a grant of $93 million 2 years ago to provide part of the funding
to build a 50-megawatt powerplant near Healy in the late 1990's. Fuel will
be supplied by Usibelli. Golden Valley Electric Association, of Fairbanks,
is scheduled to operate and maintain the plant and purchase power. The permit
application was submitted to the Alaska Power Authority too late for consideration
in 1990. Various utility board and other hearings and further negotiations
on financing are scheduled for 1991. 
Idemitsu Alaska Inc. carried on exploration and other work at its Wishbone
Hill Mine near Palmer. The State reported Idemitsu drilled about 1 1 ,500
feet of churn drill and core drill holes for development, geophysical logging,
and environmental baseline studies. The announced reserve of high heat, low-sulfur
coal is about 15 million St with a scheduled mine life of 15 years. The Diamond
Chuitna Mine in the Beluga coalfields conducted engineering, environmental,
and permitting activities. The published reserve for this deposit is about
300 million st of lower grade coal. It is jointly owned by the BHW Group
and the Diamond Shamrock Chuitna Coal Joint Venture and is managed by D &

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