Headlamp – Federal tax reform and changes in fuel costs make Ambler mining district more attractive.

Federal tax reform and changes in fuel costs make Ambler mining district more attractive. The company that has led exploration in the Ambler mining district is now shifting to develop its primary prospect after many years of work. Trilogy Metals released a pre-feasibility study for its project at the Arctic prospect in Northwest Alaska with a higher initial capital estimates cost but a lower overall cost Feb. 20. Formerly NovaCopper Inc., Vancouver-based Trilogy Metals changed its name in 2016 to reflect the multi-metal deposits the company holds. Located in the middle of the large Ambler mining district that stretches along the southern face of the Brooks Range in Northwest Alaska, Trilogy leaders project the high-grade Arctic deposit to be the first of several mines in the area. The Arctic prospect holds an estimated 2.4 billion pounds of indicated copper resources at a 3.07 percent grade; 3.3 billion pounds of indicated zinc at 4.23 percent; and precious metal resources estimated at 55 million ounces of indicated silver and 730,000 ounces of gold, according to the Feb. 20 report. Estimated costs to develop Arctic have grown 9 percent since a 2013 preliminary economic assessment and are now pegged at $780 million. However, a 60 percent drop in expected annual operating and 20 percent decrease in closure and reclamation costs — to about $65 million each — cut the all-in cost for the mine by 5.5 percent from $964 million in 2013 to $911 million today. Trilogy executives said during a call with investors that the drastic drop in operating costs is due to changes in the plan for waste rock and tailings management, fuel and federal tax reform. The original high-level Arctic design called for potentially acid-generating waste rock to be comingled with mine tailings, which resulted in the need for a larger tailings facility and dam, according to Trilogy CEO Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse.

Swimming upstream against the constitution? A ballot initiative aimed at protecting salmon habitat has cleared a significant hurdle on its track to making a November state election ballot, according to a Tuesday report from the Division of Elections. The controversial “Stand for Salmon” initiative, as it’s known, would create a more stringent permitting process for development projects on salmon habitat in Alaska. Opponents, many of them in resource extraction industries, say it’s bad for business. Supporters say they’re streamlining a 60-year-old law in an attempt to protect Alaska salmon. Both sides of the issue are now one step closer to clashing on a Nov. 6 general election ballot: the initiative has satisfied its major signature requirements in an ongoing review from the Division of Elections. DoE is currently reviewing each of Stand for Salmon’s 43,706 signatures. To pass the review, Stand for Salmon needs only 32,127 signatures or 10 percent of those who voted in the previous general election. As of Tuesday, 38,694 signatures were verified. Headlamp awaits a decision from the Alaska Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the initiative.

Up, up and away! U.S. oil production surged to an all-time high in November, topping the previous record set nearly half a century ago, government data showed on Wednesday. The nation’s drillers pumped 10.057 million barrels a day in November, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a monthly report. That edges out the previous record of 10.044 million barrels a day set in November 1970. The record-setting output comes after a revision to last month’s report showing November’s output leaped to 10.038 million barrels a day. While the new all-time high production shows American drillers pulled ahead of Saudi Arabia to briefly become the world’s second biggest producer, the United States may have slipped back into third place in December. The first monthly reading for December shows U.S. output slid back to 9.949 million barrels.

From today’s Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

EXXON CANCELING RUSSIAN ENERGY PROJECTS BECAUSE OF SANCTIONS: Exxon Mobil said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that it is canceling projects with Russian state oil giant Rosneft because of risk from U.S. and European Union sanctions on Moscow.

Exxon said it decided late last year to abandon the ventures, but will formally start the process to withdraw this year. Exxon said it would suffer an after-tax loss of $200 million over the failed effort.

  • Opposing sanctions: The company, when it was led by now-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, had opposed the U.S. sanctions imposed in 2014 for Russia’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula. The company argued U.S. companies would be blocked from operating in Russia, the world’s largest oil producer.
  • Lost hope: Exxon had hoped to drill in Russia’s Arctic ocean oil fields, considered one of the world’s largest untapped energy resources.

First Reads:

Stand for Salmon jumps signature hurdle
Juneau Empire, Kevin Gullufsen, February 28,2018

Cost estimate drops for Ambler mining prospect
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Elwood Brehmer, February 28,2018

US crude oil output hit an all-time high in November, taking out the 1970 record, new data show
CNBC, Tom DiChristopher, February 28,2018