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Alaska governor to speak at mining event in Sparks

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Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy will be guest speaker for the American Exploration & Mining Association’s upcoming annual meeting in Sparks, and one of the keynote speakers will be Greg Lang, the president and chief executive officer of NovaGold Resources Inc.

The annual conference’s exhibitions will open at 9 a.m. Dec. 8 at the Nugget Casino Resort and continue until Friday, Dec. 10, but short courses begin on Dec. 5 and continue through Dec. 7. Technical sessions start on the morning of Dec. 8, and they will be held on Dec. 9 and the morning of Dec. 10.

“We are gearing up for a great turnout for the in-person meeting. I believe folks are ready to get out and see their friends again,” said Pat Heywood, operations and finance director for the American Exploration & Mining Association.

An in-person annual meeting wasn’t held last year because of COVID-19.

Lang will speak at the Dec. 8 Keynote Speaker Luncheon. According to the program for the 127th annual conference, he will speak on “The Evolution of Sustainability Practices at Donlin Gold,” a large gold project in the Alaskan Yukon.

NOVAGOLD and Barrick Gold Corp. are equal partners in Donlin Gold LLC, working with two Alaskan native corporations: The Kuskokwim and Calista.

Lang was president of Barrick Gold North America, and he was with Barrick Gold Corp. for 10 years. He was with Homestake Mining Co. before Barrick acquired Homestake, and he was with International Corona Corp. earlier. Barrick acquired Corona, as well.

Republican Gov. Dunleavy is slated to speak at the luncheon on Dec. 9, along with Allison Forrest of Resource Capital Funds.

The governor is a longtime educator and consultant in Alaska, where gold and silver mining are part of the state’s economy. Dunleavy, who has lived in Alaska since 1983, also was a state senator for five years.

He will talk about the State of Alaska.

Forrest is an expert in matters that measure the sustainability and impact of mining company investments at Resource Capital Funds, which is a mining-focused private equity firm, and she has conducted more than 40 ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) due diligence visits in 16 countries and more than 100 ESG desk-top due diligence reviews.

Topics of the technical sessions over two and a half days range from updates on states, exploration, new projects in old mining districts (including those of i-80 Gold Corp. in Nevada), mining regulations, mining hydrology, mine closure and reclamation and legislative affairs.

Mark Compton, executive director of the American Exploration & Mining Association, will chair a session on Building Back Better: Connecting the Dots with Mining.”

Heywood said there is “a fantastic technical session program, and we currently have 200 exhibitors, and there are a few booths available.”

There also are six in-person short courses and one virtual course, and she said technical sessions will be streamed for those who cannot make the event.

Preregistration is closed but people can register at the event. More information on the annual meeting and exhibitors is on the American Exploration & Mining Association website.

AEMA also states online that there will be COVID-19 restrictions for the in-person event, including a mask mandate and proof of vaccination.


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