Nome Gold AK sold to Arctic Gold Mining LLC
Ownership of nearly 9,000 acres of mining leases and 380 patented mining claims mostly located within the City of Nome has changed from Nome Gold Alaska to Arctic Gold Mining LLC.
The sale became final by the end of last month and included land holdings and all Nome Gold Alaska equipment, for an undisclosed amount.
The new principal owners are Ken Kerr of California with eight years of offshore mining experience in Nome, David Young and Michael Berry of Colorado, Dave McCully and investor Robert Salna. Nome Gold general manager Cecil Connor and land manager Nikolai Ivanoff are going to fill the same positions under Arctic Gold Mining.
In a recent interview with The Nome Nugget, Ken Kerr and Cecil Connor discussed the new company’s plans. Kerr has been in Nome for the last eight years, participating under the name Arctic Sea Mining in offshore gold mining. According to Kerr, Arctic Sea Mining holds 4,000 acres of offshore leases, and they plan to continue mining offshore as well as on land.
In October 2015, Nome Gold Alaska downsized their operations substantially, general manager Cecil Connor said. Nome Gold Alaska was owned by the Russian investor group Indigo Capital with headquarters in Moscow. Indigo Capital’s primary business is to invest, some of it in United States, in medical, pharmaceutical and medical software companies. Nome Gold Alaska was the only company that Indigo Capital actually invested in and managed at the same time. In 2011, Nome Gold Alaska Corp. bought 11,500 acres of mining leases and patented mining claims from Alaska Gold Co. Nome Gold Alaska Corp. was a wholly owned subsidiary of Nome Gold Co., a Canadian corporation in the Ontario province.
In 2015 it became clear that overspending and being inefficient at mining posed a problem for Nome Gold. While there is still enough gold in the ground, getting it out economically proved to be a hard hurdle to overcome. “We did mine a small block in 2015,” Connor said. “We got 800 ounces of placer gold and they decided they didn’t want to mine any more.”
Around December 2015, Nome Gold Alaska put the land and all its assets up for sale. Connor said that they saw a lot of different people of interest to buy the place but not until the first part of July 2016 did Arctic Sea Mining sign the initial purchase and non-disclosure agreement. The buyers entered into a non-exclusive due diligence phase, signed a purchase agreement in September and the sale was recorded with the title company on Nov. 23.
During the interview, Ken Kerr said he has been a miner since he was eight years old. “My dad was a gold miner in New Mexico, I’ve been kind of a gold miner all my life,” he said. He considered the purchase of Nome Gold Alaska a good opportunity. “I’ve been in Nome for eight years and I know the people here. We want to keep this as a Nome mom and pop kind of business. We’re in tune with the public here,” Kerr said. “We want to hire local, work with the community and the city.” Kerr said the stated goal is to mine the property and maybe bring in some new technology that Nome hasn’t seen yet. Asked what this new technology may entail, he declined to expand, but said the company plans to do some research and development of new mining techniques. Connor explained that the probable and inferred resource on Arctic Gold Mining lands are two million ounces of gold. But he also explained that using current mining techniques, such as traditional placer mining, are not economical ways to get to the gold. “With current exploitation methods, its 75,000 to 100,000 ounces that are economical at this point,” Connor said.
The projects that Arctic Mining will pursue are about the same as Nome Gold had in the pipeline. Connor said that there are still one and a half years of mining left to mine the area west of the airport. Stressing that timelines are fluid and subject to change, he described mining projects at Monroeville, just below the Arctic Mining company’s headquarters at Camp 5 on the Nome-Teller Highway; mining the area west of Dredge 6 near West Beach, and for the years 2019/2020 the company plans to mine Dry Creek north of the Greg Kruschek Avenue and also Queens Bench, an area south of the city’s monofill on Center Creek Road.
Kerr said he won’t close the door on the possibility that blasting at the airport project would resume.
As of last week, the workforce at Arctic Gold Mining is 32 positions that are filled already. Connor said the company works with three crews on rotating shifts to afford around the clock work coverage. The workers are on for four weeks, off for three weeks. There are five heavy equipment operators and three mechanics on per shift. Other personnel includes office staff consisting of Connor, local Paul Kosto, land manager Nikolai Ivanoff and a cook. “We have 17 local workers, eight from the Anchorage/Wasilla area and seven from out of Alaska,” Connor said.
Asked what the public can expect from the new company, Kerr said there won’t be any radical changes: “We want to work with everybody.”