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Mining company looks for precious metals in southeast Alaska

September 22, 2021 GMT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A Canadian mining company has been looking for precious metals on Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska.

Millrock Resources, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based company, several years ago applied to the U.S. Forest Service for drilling permits to renew exploration on claims that once made up the historic Apex and El Nido gold mines.

However, the exploration never happened. CEO Gregory Beischer said the company wasn’t able to secure financing.

The mines produced precious metals in the early 20th Century. Some exploration resumed in the 1980s.

“But it really has been dormant since the mining activity took place in the ’20s and ’30s,” Beischer told CoastAlaska.

Millrock has formed a partnership with another company, which has allowed it to take soil samples on claims less than three miles from Pelican, a community with fewer than 100 year-round residents.

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The operator of Kensington Mine north of Juneau, which is a subsidiary of Coeur Mining, invested about $200,000 for a small team of geologists based in Pelican.

Beischer said soil sample results are pending. But he said geologists hope they will show that gold-bearing quartz veins continue down the mountain. Taking soil samples doesn’t require permits, according to state and federal regulators.

“And it will hopefully be encouraging enough for our partner to finance drilling,” he said, “to test the quartz veins at lower elevations to see if the gold continues.”

If they do, the company could apply for renewed permission to drill next year. But Beischer noted not many projects result in the discovery of a deposit that can be mined for profit.

Some of the public land claims were staked by Millrock. But the bulk of the area is on claims held by Apex El Nido Gold Mines, an Alaska company whose primary shareholder is Anchorage attorney Joseph Henri, a former state Department of Administration commissioner.