Thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of Natural Resources, Resource Assessment & Development Section scoping comments on the revision of the eastern portion of the Tanana Basin Area Plan and future uses of state lands in this region.
Pure Nickel Inc. is a mineral exploration company which holds 2,452 state claims and 581 federal claims covering approximately 180,000 acres of land in sub-region 5, East Alaska Range of the Eastern Tanana Area Plan (ETAP). The attached map shows a rough approximation of Pure Nickel's claims outlined within a red border imposed on the ETAP map, the property is also referred to as the MAN property.
As part of the public scoping planning phase of the process, Pure Nickel would like to comment that it would like to see the land remain designated as active use so that the state lands in this region can be accessed for mineral exploration and eventual mine development.
Since 1997 Pure Nickel and its predecessor company Nevada Star Resource Corp. have invested over $20 million in exploration on the MAN property and believe that the area holds great promise for a nickel and platinum group element (PGE) discovery. As you may be aware these minerals play a major role in many industrial processes. PGEs are vital to many industrial and mechanical processes requiring emission amelioration and reduction. Due to their catalytic properties, PGEs are used in vehicle catalytic converters, fuel cell technology and other important applications. Thus, the supply of PGEs is vital for environmental protection initiatives.
It is important to note the positive economic impact of exploration on the local communities in which we operate. This year's exploration budget is approximately $5 million. Much of the budget will be spent with Alaskan based suppliers and service providers. Local lodges, equipment suppliers, food and fuel providers, helicopter operators, laborers and natural resources consulting firms have and will continue to participate in the development of the property. In addition, Pure Nickel makes claim maintenance payments to the state totaling $328,030, as well as federal claim maintenance of $72,500.
Pure Nickel is extremely conscious of the environmental impact of its activities. Routinely, our drilling programs have been helicopter supported to minimize environmental impact. This year Pure Nickel has commissioned a base line water sampling program and will follow up with annual water sampling programs. In addition, Pure Nickel also commissioned and published an initial report on caribou migration and will build further study into caribou migration in subsequent exploration programs. We are pleased to enclose a copy of the caribou migration report, along with a copy of our environmental guidelines.
Pure Nickel is committed to a transparent process on environmental issues. We have reached out to local environment groups and Native Americans. We plan on face to face meetings with these groups during the month of June. Our approach is to keep them informed of our intentions and conduct ourselves in an environmentally responsible fashion.
Pure Nickel's vision is to develop an important mineral resource on the MAN claims and that by designating these lands as active use for mineral development along with support for maintaining and eventually expanding the existing transportation corridors work can continue on the MAN property which will stimulate growth in support and primary mining industries, and provide employment opportunities and a stable source of revenue for the state.
Thank you again for the opportunity to provide input to you. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Department of Natural Resources.
Included with comment: Map; Report: Preliminary Report on Caribou Migration, Nelchina Basin, Alaska; Booklet: Pure Nickel Inc. Environmental Objectives and Guidelines