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Native Organizations Oppose Yakutat Mine
"Land too important for future generations"


November 26, 2009
Thursday AM

(SitNews) Yakutat, Alaska - The Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp (ANB) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) are seeking to block development of a strip and dredge placer mine by Geohedral LLC near the fishing community of Yakutat, Alaska.

The NCAI, a national organization that fights to protect tribal nations' treaty rights, and ANB, an Alaska Native civil rights organization with Native and non-Native members, have passed resolutions opposing mining in the Yakutat Forelands, a region between the Coastal Mountains and the Gulf of Alaska, where Geohedral LLC has staked over 91 square miles of mining claims. In addition, the people in Yakutat, population 600, have collected over 450 signatures from the region on petitions opposing any mine development in this area.

"The Yakutat Forelands, particularly the Akwe and Dry Bay areas are historical sites where villages and resting grounds of our ancestors are located," states the Alaska Native Brotherhood Resolution. "This land is not only precious due to its historical significance for our clans but it is also important for our community's future generations."

While the resolutions highlight the area's long history of use by Native Alaskans, the petition states that mining in the Yakutat Forelands, located in the Tongass National Forest, threatens existing uses and important salmon rivers.

"The Forelands is critical fish and game habitat that the community depends on. We believe mining would threaten this habitat and therefore negatively impact current, sustainable economic industries. Yakutat's main economic industry has always been subsistence, commercial and sport fishing."

This isn't the first time that the community of Yakutat has fought to keep the Forelands and their salmon streams intact. During the 1980's and early 1990's concerns about the impact of logging and other uses compelled the community have Congress designate the Forelands as a "Land Use Designation II" or "LUD II" through the 1990 Tongass Timber Reform Act. This congressional designation bans logging and associated road developments, but it does not preclude mining.

"We thought we had already protected this area for future generations, but apparently there is a mining loophole in the LUD II." stated Raymond Sensmeier, a fisherman and member of the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe Council that has circulated petitions and resolutions opposing the mine. "We are just going to have to fight this battle again, and judging by these resolutions and petitions, people are willing to fight."

Caims covering approximately 49,000 acres of Federal and State lands located near the town of Yakutat in southeastern Alaska were staked in September 2008 by a privately held company Geohedral LLC. The claims encompassed an area of more than 76 square miles and consist of black sand ridges that Geohedral estimated contain probable reserves of 891 million metric tons of Magnetite (iron ore) and 696 million metric tons of Ilmenite (iron titanium oxide ore). The Beard Company (OTCBB: BRCO) at the time owned a 23.16% interest in a privately held company Geohedral LLC. On October 1, 2009, the Beard Company, headquarted in Oklahoma City, announced it had increased its equity interest in Geohedral LLC to 25.68%.

Staking of the 2008 claims was financed by a group of investors (including several Beard affiliates) that contributed a total of $3,155,000 in May and June of 2008.

The black sand ridges were discovered by Dr. P. Jan Cannon, a geologist and remote sensing specialist who has spent more than 30 years exploring and evaluating mineral deposits in the area using satellite imagery and other technologies. Dr. Cannon, with a 17.32% equity interest, is the second-largest owner in Geohedral, which was formed in July 2006. Dr. Cannon has a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Arizona and earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geology and Chemistry from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Cannon was a Professor of Geology at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks for 10 years and has conducted extensive field work in the Yakutat Forelands area and throughout Alaska for more than 30 years.

Reporting on the assay results in February of 2009, Geohedral LLC noted there were apparent and significant inaccuracies in the analytical results reported by the independent laboratory that performed the 2008 assays. Geohedral is reviewing and analyzing assay results from eleven (11) core holes drilled and sampled in the fall of 2008 and additionally conducted assays in the summer of 2009.

Steven Kerr, project manager / senior geologist for the Norwest Corporation, an independent engineering firm retained to supervise the exploration at the Yakutat Project, confirmed that, in his opinion, "Geohedral has a significant mineral deposit in Alaska that contains significant percentages of magnetite, ilmenite and rutile". He further stated his confidence that this conclusion will be validated once all of the procedures necessary to obtain an accurate analysis have been observed.

According to Dr. Cannon, the President of Geohedral, "Once our analysis has been validated and we are able to move forward with the project, the potential future economic benefit to the Yakutat region could be quite significant. Future mining operations will be designed and implemented in a manner consistent with the highest environmental standards, including re-forestation, the construction of lakes, etc., as part of the post-mining reclamation process."

The Beard Company announced on September 21, 2009 that Geohedral LLC has further expanded its holdings of mining claims in the Yakutat Forelands district of southeastern Alaska to encompass 521 new claims (10,420 acres). The additional claims are located in the Tanis Mesa area and are contiguous to the 48,000 acre block that Geohedral staked and claimed last year (the "Black Sands Area").

Dr. P. Jan Cannon, Manager and President of Geohedral, reported: "At least 400 of the new claims are considered to be potential 'pay dirt,' and are underlain with an unconsolidated placer deposit that averages more than six feet in thickness and may average more than 12 feet in thickness. Thirty holes were dug or drilled across a widely spaced grid of points, with a spacing of one-half mile, across the central part of the staked area. Depth of the holes ranged from 2.5 feet to 27.1 feet below the surface. The 171 samples from these holes were assayed for gold, silver, platinum and palladium."

Dr. Cannon said in a news release in September 2009, "An additional 30 shallow holes, mostly three to six feet in depth, were dug with a closer spacing of points in two selected parts of the widely spaced grid north and south of Tanis Mesa. These holes produced an additional 71 samples that were also assayed for gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Ten samples from the 30 holes were assayed for a suite of 14 elements. They provided a test of the previous assay values and an indication of the larger potential of the placer material."

"Two slim core holes were drilled on the south side of Tanis Mesa, one to 12.0 feet and the other to 50.3 feet, that produced 91 samples. All of the 353 samples were acquired, processed and assayed under strict chain-of-custody procedures," said Dr. Cannon.

"Preliminary evaluation of the assays indicates that the unconsolidated materials above the bedrock in the Tanis Mesa area contain appreciable amounts of gold and silver, averaging 0.30 oz/ton of gold and 0.75 oz/ton of silver. The 400 claims of primary interest are projected to produce 34,800,000 troy ounces of gold. In our opinion, we have a 'world class' discovery," Dr. Cannon concluded.

Herb Mee, Jr., Beard's President, added: "To put things into perspective, ENGINEERING AND MINING JOURNAL, a leading industry publication, defines a significant gold discovery as one 'containing at least 2 million oz. of gold in total reserves and resources.' So you can see why we are extremely excited about this new development."

"Geohedral is already contacting certain major players in the mining industry to determine whether they would be interested in becoming Geohedral's partner in the Tanis Mesa area. Some preliminary contacts have been made, and two parties have already expressed interest in obtaining additional information. Our goal is to sell a portion of Tanis Mesa to an industry partner, generating a meaningful return on our investment, while leaving Geohedral with sufficient funds to participate in the mining of Tanis Mesa and pursue further development of the BlackSands Area."

"We feel that Geohedral has a unique property to present to potential industry partners. Tanis Mesa is distinctive because of its location on the Gulf of Alaska, its temperate climate, its proximity to markets and ocean transportation, its abundance of water, and the fact that the unconsolidated materials above the bedrock can be extracted by low-cost dredging with minimal environmental impact. The placer material can be recovered without the costly blasting, shoveling, crushing, removal, handling and disposal costs that more expensive hard rock mines are faced with. We believe that operating costs to recover the material at Tanis Mesa will be among the lowest in the mining industry."


Source of News:

Yakutat Tlingit Tribe

Beard Company (OTCBB: BRCO)


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