A Pivotal Panning Period in AK’s Prospecting Playbook!

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Today’s Key Takeaways:  How do we keep our young people in Alaska?  Exxon moves to block activists intent on harming company.  Natural gas forecast.  Investment down, interest up for AK’s mining industry.  AK utilities say “no” to removing Eklutna Dam.  


Alaska’s working population loss casts long shadow over legislative session
James Brooks, Alaska Beacon, January 20, 2022

For an 11th consecutive year, more people moved out of Alaska than moved into the state.

As the Alaska Legislature convenes in Juneau, the state population is on the minds of lawmakers.

For the 11th consecutive year, more people moved out of Alaska than moved into it, according to new estimates published this week by the Alaska Department of Labor. 

Though new births over the past year counterbalanced the losses, the state’s population growth was a meager 0.04%, demographers estimate. The state’s new estimated population, 736,812, is below what it was in 2012. 

While the trend has been building for more than a decade, the number of lawmakers calling for swift and major action has grown, and a variety of proposals are now circulating in the Capitol.

“It’s just interesting this year how, regardless of whether it’s cost of living, energy costs, schools, everybody’s bringing up that population loss,” said Rep. Will Stapp, R-Fairbanks.

But why now, after 11 years of losses?

“I think it’s been finally recognized,” said Senate Majority Leader Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage. “You know the old analogy: ‘How do you boil a frog?’ You turn up the heat slowly. And then finally, the frog realizes, ‘Oh, no, I’m cooked.’ I think that’s kind of what’s happened.”



ExxonMobil Takes to Court to Block Activists’ Agenda from Ballot
Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg/Rigzone, January 22, 2024

Exxon Mobil Corp. filed a lawsuit against US and Dutch climate activist investors in an effort to remove what it describes as their “extreme agenda” from the ballot at its annual shareholder meetings, and force a stricter interpretation of SEC rule-making. 

The Texas oil giant is seeking a declaratory judgment from the US District Court in Fort Worth to exclude from its annual meeting this year a proposal from Follow This and Arjuna Capital LLC to accelerate greenhouse-gas emission cuts. Exxon argues that a judgment in its favor would tighten the Securities and Exchange Commission’s interpretation of the rules around what proposals get on proxy ballots across corporate America. 

Follow This and Arjuna Capital have “become shareholders solely to campaign for change through shareholder proposals that are calculated to diminish the company’s existing business,” Exxon said in the complaint. They “are aided in their efforts by a flawed shareholder proposal and proxy voting process that does not serve investors’ interests and has become ripe for abuse.”



Natural Gas Forecast: How Will Weather, Production, LNG Demand Impact Market?

James Hyerczyk, FXEmpire, January 22, 2025

Bearish factors including warmer weather, rising production to pressure prices and cap natural gas gains. European outlook to fuel LNG volatility.

Key Points

  • U.S. natural gas prices hit a two-week low due to warmer forecasts.
  • January’s gas output in Lower 48 states fell, recovery expected.
  • Warmer weather pattern predicted to reduce natural gas demand.
  • European market’s stability and Biden’s policy impact U.S. LNG exports.



Critical year for Alaska mineral exploration
Shane Lasley, North of 60 Mining News, January 18, 2024

With Donlin Gold reentering the feasibility study stage, Ambler Metals waiting on the reevaluation of the permit needed for a road to the Ambler Mining District, and an overall lack of investment capital, mineral exploration spending in Alaska dropped during 2023.

While the overall sector was down, there continued to be some bright spots – most notably, a growing interest in Alaska’s critical minerals potential.

In July, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Graphite One Inc. $37.5 million to help complete a feasibility study for an advanced graphite material supply chain that will begin at the Graphite Creek project about 35 miles north of Nome, Alaska.

“This Department of Defense grant underscores our confidence in our strategy to build a 100% U.S.-based advanced graphite supply chain – from mining to refining to recycling,” said Graphite One CEO Anthony Huston. “The World Bank Group reports that the production of minerals, including graphite, could increase by nearly 500% by 2050, to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies.”

While graphite is the single largest ingredient in the lithium batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage, it is not the only critical energy metal in high demand or being sought in Alaska.

At least two new exploration companies – Alaska Energy Metals Inc. and KoBold Metals scoured promising projects in Alaska’s Wrangellia Terrane for deposits enriched with nickel, cobalt, copper, and other metals critical to the energy transition. 

“Alaska Energy Metals is positioning itself to supply domestic markets with a source of critical and strategic metals,” Alaska Energy Metals President and CEO Greg Beischer said upon the early 2023 launch of AEM. 

While energy transition minerals are gaining traction in Alaska, the more traditional metals gold, silver, and zinc continue to be the most sought out across the 49th State.



Electric utilities push back on proposal from Native village and Anchorage Assembly leaders to remove Eklutna River hydropower dam
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, January 21, 2024

The Alaska Native village of Eklutna and Anchorage Assembly leaders are calling for the removal of the Eklutna River hydropower dam that provides cheap power in Southcentral Alaska, as electric utilities propose ways to reduce the dam’s environmental harms.

The supporters of removing the dam say it would fully restore the river, and would not happen until replacement sources of renewable energy can be created.

The idea comes as the owners of the nearly 70-year-old dam — the Chugach and Matanuska electric associations and the Anchorage Hydropower Utility — undertake a historic, legally required effort to mitigate its impacts.

But a representative for the utilities’ effort says that a free-flowing Eklutna River could damage critical infrastructure, including the buried water pipe that delivers most of Anchorage’s drinking water. It runs near and sometimes beneath much of the riverbed.READ MORE