The Northern Miner’s most clicked stories in 2020

Members of the media walking to a drill rig at Northern Dynasty's Pebble project in 2011. Credit: jsear | Flickr (creative commons).

As we near the end of 2020, the Northern Miner has compiled its list of the top ten most-clicked stories on our website. The stories are ranked in descending order and appeared between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1.

1. Northern Dynasty’s Pebble project approved after 15-year fight

By Cecilia Jamasmie of (July 24, 2020)

Northern Dynasty Minerals has cleared the last environmental hurdle for its proposed Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum mine in Alaska almost two decades after developers first started considering the project.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a final environmental impact statement backing the controversial mine near the salmon-rich Bristol Bay. The decision opens the door for Northern Dynasty to obtain the federal go-ahead as soon as late August.

2. Ashley Kirwan, David Cataford named Young Mining Professionals of the Year

Young Mining Professionals award winners Ashley Kirwan and David Cataford.

Young Mining Professionals award winners Ashley Kirwan and David Cataford.

By Trish Saywell (February 17, 2020)

The winners of the Young Mining Professionals (YMP) awards this year are Ashley Kirwan of Orix Geoscience and David Cataford of Champion Iron.

The YMP awards, presented in association with The Northern Miner, recognize two mining professionals under the age of forty who have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and innovative thinking and provided value to their companies and shareholders.

The YMP awards are named after two iconic entrepreneurs in the mining industry, Eira Thomas and the late Peter Munk. Ashley Kirwan has won the 2020 Eira Thomas award and David Cataford the Pete Munk award.

3. Water rights under scrutiny in Chile’s Atacama Desert

Mining personnel at an SQM lithium brine site in Chile’s Atacama desert. Credit: SQM.

By Tom Azzopardi, Special to the Northern Miner (September 8, 2020)

In one of the world’s driest deserts, the battle for water is heating up. Mining companies sifting northern Chile’s Atacama Desert for copper, lithium and other minerals are increasingly finding water is their most precious resource.

Vital to processes such as concentrating and leaching, miners typically extract the water they need from aquifers located high in the Andes Mountains having obtained the necessary rights from Chile’s water authority. But their ability to exercise those rights is increasingly being challenged by environmentalists, farmers and the authorities who say the huge expansion of mining activity and climate changes have shrunk water supplies.

4. Bank of America sees ‘further upside’ potential for silver in 2021

 Dor pour at SilverCrest Mines' Santa Elena silver-gold mine in Sonora. Source: SilverCrest Mines

Dore pour at SilverCrest Mines’ Santa Elena silver-gold mine in Sonora. Credit: SilverCrest Mines.

By Northern Miner staff (November 24 2020)

Describing silver as a “metal important for future technologies” (MIFT) in a new report on the outlook for commodities in 2021, Bank of America said the “current focus on decarbonisation/solar panels should support fundamentals.”

“The silver market has rebalanced on production discipline and demand from new applications including solar panels,” the bank stated. “If more spending on solar panels comes through, silver should rally above US$31 per oz.”

The bank’s analysts said the white metal will be supported by U.S. President-elect Joseph Biden Jr.’s ambitious plans for achieving net-zero emissions across the U.S. by 2050.

5. Kirkland Lake Gold’s Tony Makuch our Mining Person of the Year for 2019

Kirkland Lake Gold president and CEO Tony Makuch at The Northern Miner’s third annual Progressive Mine Forum in October 2019. Photo by George Matthew Photography.

By Trish Saywell (February 22, 2020)

Tony Makuch, president and CEO of Kirkland Lake Gold, is The Northern Miner’s Mining Person of the Year for 2019.

Under his leadership, Kirkland Lake Gold has outperformed its peers in the last 24 months. The company’s shares rose by 60% last year, it raised its dividend twice and more than doubled its cash position, ending 2019 with US$707 million in cash and equivalents.

6. Barrick’s Mark Bristow on building a licence to operate

Mark Bristow visits geologists at the Kibali mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Barrick Gold.

By Trish Saywell (September 10, 2020)

In an interview at Ernst & Young’s virtual Americas Mining & Metals Forum, Barrick Gold CEO Mark Bristow spoke about the importance of building a strong licence to operate, creating lasting relationships with governments and all stakeholders, and attracting generalist investors.

Jeff Swinoga, co-leader of EY’s Canada Mining & Metals division, began the discussion by congratulating Bristow on Warren Buffett’s recent investment in Barrick Gold. Bristow responded that building a sustainably profitable business is key, and something he started at Randgold Resources in 1995, prior to that company’s merger with Barrick Gold, completed early last year.

7. American Pacific acquires Madison with Rio Tinto as partner

The portal entrance to the Madison project. Photo Credit: American Pacific Mining.

By Trish Saywell (April 16 2020)

For a junior exploration company with a market capitalization of $3 million, the prospect of acquiring a gold project with a past producing mine in the U.S., where Rio Tinto may spend up to US$30 million to earn a 70% stake, sounds almost too good to be true.

But that’s exactly what American Pacific Mining pulled off this week in an all-share deal with privately held Madison Metals worth about $2.4 million.

“We are by no short order thrilled to have picked up this asset — and to pick it up with a joint-venture partner like Rio Tinto was a coup,” says Warwick Smith, American Pacific Mining’s founder and CEO. “It’s not very often that a company our size gets to team up with the second-largest company in the world.”

8. Trump declares national emergency on rare earths production

Core samples from Ucore Rare Metals’ Bokan-Dotson Ridge rare earth element project. Credit: Ucore Rare Metals.

By Cecilia Jamasmie of (October 1, 2020)

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order declaring a national emergency in the mining industry, a move that seeks to curb the country’s reliance on rare earths in his latest bid to end China’s control of the market.

The directive, issued late Wednesday night, asks the Interior Department to explore using the 70-year-old Defense Production Act to speed up mines development.

It also calls for a report evaluating possible measures such as tariffs, quotas or other trade restrictions targeting China and “other non-market foreign adversaries.”

9. New management brings ‘modern thinking’ to environmentally challenged Bunker Hill mine

A view from the historic Bunker Hill zinc-lead-silver property in Idaho. Credit: Bunker Hill Mining.

A view from the historic Bunker Hill zinc-lead-silver property in Idaho. Credit: Bunker Hill Mining.

By Carl A. Williams (November 27, 2020)

For over a century, the mines of Silver Valley in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains in northern Idaho have been a source of tremendous mineral wealth.

From the mid-1880s, those mines have yielded almost 10 million tonnes of zinc, lead and silver.

The region’s most famous mine, Bunker Hill, was first discovered in 1885 by Noah Kellogg. (In 1894, the nearby Milo prospecting camp was renamed in his honour, eventually leading to the establishment of Kellogg city.)

10. Video: David Rosenberg on precious metals and macroeconomics at the Global Mining Symposium

The Northern Miner’s publisher, Anthony Vaccaro, interviews David Rosenberg, president, and chief economist and strategist of Rosenberg Research & Associates, an economic consulting firm he set up in January 2020 at the Northern Miner’s Global Mining Symposium, Nov. 10 and 12.


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