University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Ecology and Natural Resources Collection

Page View

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

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

Page 59

ALASKA—1990  59Ventures Inc~ , according to State survey information.
This project had a development program active in 1990. Hobbs Industries Inc.
said it has an estimated 22.4 million St of better grade reserves at its
Castle Mountain Mine near Sutton. Hobbs prepared an adit portal, built access
roads, and did other basic surface facility preparation work. Only about
2 million St of Hobbs' 22.4 million st of reserves is not involved in the
Mental Health Land Trust dispute. 
. GokL—Gold production reported to the Bureau of Mines in 1990
3,232 kilograms (103,900 troy ounces) valued at $40.2 million, reported by
3 lode and 14 placer operators. This reported production was probably about
56 % of the amount reported to the Bureau in 1989 and 57 % of the value.
The average price of gold in 1990 was $386.91 per troy ounce. Gold production
reported to the Bureau was about 45 % of the State's estimated production.
The State estimated 1990 gold production at 7,206 kilograms (231,700 troy
ounces) valued at $89.2 million. State production estimates for 1990 ' are
based on data compiled from 204 DGGS questionnaires returned by companies
and individuals; responses by another 15 sand, gravel, and stone quarry operators;
summaries supplied by the Department of Public Facilities (DOTPF) and the
U.S. Forest Service (USFS); and bullion sale volume from precious metal refiners."
About 83 % of the gold was produced by placer mines and the balance of 17
% was recovered by two lode mines. In 1990, the 10 largest producers in Alaska
recovered 49 % of the State's production, 114,083 troy ounces of gold. These
producers were Kennecott Greens Creek Mining Co. , Alaska Gold Co. , Westgold
Ltd. , Cambior Mines Inc. , Polar Mining, 
~ Inc. , Anvil Mining, Sphinx Mining, 
- Alaska Placer Development, Nyac 
~ Mining, and Citigold Alaska Inc. The I 
Greens Creek Mine was the largest gold producer in 1990. In 5 of the last
6 years the Valdez Creek Mine was the largest gold producer in the State.
In 1990, it only mined for about 6 weeks and spent the rest of the season
rerouting Valdez Creek, building a new washing plant and preparing for a
full season of mining in 1991. The large offshore bucketline dredge BIMA
had a serious mechanical failure in September, and the operation was terminated
after a season of poor gold recovery and mechanical problems. The dredge
was moved to Tacoma, WA, for sale or salvage. 
The northern region produced 4,750 troy ounces of gold from 1 1 placer operations
that employed 35 people. Production in 1989 was 6,800 troy ounces of gold
from 13 operations that employed 38 people. The miners had problems complying
with the new water recycling and reclamation laws and regulations. Activities
were reported in the Chandalar, Wild Lake, and Wiseman districts in the central
part of the Brooks Range. The biggest producer was Chandalar Mines Inc. that
mined ground on Tobin Creek leased from Chandalar Development Corp. The operator,
D.M. Ackels, moved his modern washing plant and equipment to Tobin Creek
from Gold Dust Creek, near Fairbanks, the previous winter. The State Survey
reported the following operators working in the Wiseman district: Dave Ketscher
on the South Fork of the Koyukuk River; Paul Dionne working underground near
the Hammond River; Outland Resources Group on Chapman Creek and Koyukuk River;
Paradise Valley Mining on Birch Creek near Wild Lake, also operating a recreational
mining venture for tourists; Dan Even on Jim Pup and California Creek; Wild
River Ventures on Lake Creek; Robert Aumiller on Prospect Creek; Northern
Lights Mining on Jay Creek; and Steve Green and Jon Brewis on Rocker and
Davis Creeks. 
The western region produced an estimated 79, 100 troy ounces of gold from
42 placer mines, about 10 % less gold than in 1989. Alaska Gold Co. operated
two bucketline stacker dredges near Nome. Dredge No. S worked on the 
Third Beach (Monroeville) deposit at its intersection with Dry Creek, about
3 miles northeast of town. Dredge No. 6 continued digging westerly along
the Submarine Beach, about 3 miles west of the Nome airport. Each dredge
has a digging capacity of about 9,000 cubic yards per day. These dredges
operated 160 days, from May to early November and employed about 135 seasonal
people. The State reported production of 24,000 troy ounces of gold fr9m
all Alaska Gold Co. land in the western region. 
Westgold Ltd. , owner of the BIMA, announced in October it would sell its
offshore dredge and 22,000 acres of offshore State leases near Nome. The
economics of the operation did not work out. In the 5 years of operation,
gold recovery did not come up to the forecast 50,000 troy ounces per year,
the price of gold decreased, there were serious mechanical breakdowns, and
gold recovery did not meet expectations. During the 1990 mining season, Westgoid
recovered about 15,200 troy ounces of gold, about one-half of the average
in previous seasons, employing 125 workers. The total recovery from 1986-90
was 121,861 troy ounces of refined gold. The company developed an apparently
successful track-mounted, remote controlled, sea-bottom suction mining unit
that recovered about 700 troy ounces of gold during test runs, but that project
was apparently dropped when the BIMA operation was terminated. Other large
operations on the Seward Peninsula include: Anvil Mining Co. , on Anvil Creek
in the Nome District; GHD Resources at Kiwalik Flats, Candle ~ district;
and Bud Meyers and Associates, Mud Creek, Candle district. 
Many small mining firms were active on 
~ the Seward Peninsula. The State survey 
~ list includes: N.B. Tweet and Sons with 
~ a small dredge on Henry Creek, 
Kougarok district; the Edwin Hatch and 
Tom Johnson operations on Sweepstakes 
Creek, Koyuk district; Howard Smith on 
Little Rocker Creek, Nome district; Bert 
Pedigrew on Speciman Gulch, Nome 
district; Paul Steinhacher, Iron Creek, 
Casedepaga district; Darrel Walker, Clara 
Creek, Nome district; Alan Vesey, 

Go up to Top of Page