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Uranium Mine Set For Summer Exploration North of Elim

Aerial view of rural Alaska community on a cloudy summer day
An aerial view of Elim. Photo: Davis Hovey, KNOM.

Panther Minerals Inc. announced plans to launch an exploration program at the Boulder Creek uranium property this summer. The property is roughly 100 miles to the east of Nome and 20 miles north of Elim. 

The Vancouver, Canada based company will establish a 15 to 20 person camp at the Admiralty Creek airstrip, located four kilometers to the east of the prospect area. The company plans on arriving in Nome in June with fieldwork beginning in early July. 

The exploration program will reevaluate historical drill targets and test new areas with more modern methods. Key findings from past drilling include notable uranium mineralization, with some core samples returning a grade of 0.867%. For context, the World Nuclear Association considers grades above 0.1% low-grade ore while 2.0% or higher concentrations are considered high-grade.

Photo from the Indigenous Environmental Network report “Alaska’s Youth Protest to Gov. Palin and the State of Alaska Against Uranium Mining”.

The site has a history of drawing environmental concerns. In 2008 the group “Elim Students Against Uranium” protested the mining site, then owned by Triex Minerals, at the Iditarod’s Elim checkpoint. In 2014 Elim’s Tribal Council launched an effort with Hal Shepherd, then Director of the Center for Water Advocacy, to collect water quality data on the Tubuktulik River. 

The data collected in the survey hoped to earn protection for the river, preventing future developments that may harm the water and the countless wildlife that depend on it. According to Shepherd, attempts to secure those protections from the State of Alaska have been denied due to “a lack of data”.

According to the press release, Panther Minerals is in the process of submitting permit applications. A public records request submitted on May 7, 2024 to the Alaska Division of Mining, Land, and Water returned no applications from Panther Minerals for the Boulder Creek site. Email inquiries to the address listed on Panther Minerals’ press release have gone unanswered at time of writing. 

This story will be updated as we learn more.

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