Next week (Thursday and Friday), Joe Perkins and I will co-chair a two-day conference on Investment in Alaska (formally known by its longer title as “A comprehensive two-day conference on investment opportunities in Oil & Gas Production and Mineral Mining in Alaska“).
The conference could not be any more timely. Yesterday morning, Anglo American announced that it is withdrawing from the Pebble Partnership, a 50-50 venture with Canada’s Northern Dynasty Minerals.
The fact that Anglo announced a withdrawal (effectively, an abandonment of its interest to the remaining partner), rather than the sale of its interest to another party, is significant. It likely means that no other party was willing to buy Anglo’s interest, even for pennies on the dollar.
That, in turn, likely says something also about how outside investors currently perceive Alaska. The fact that no other investor was willing to invest in on one of the world’s largest copper deposits, with substantial additional mineral opportunity, should be of significant concern to those who understand that Alaska’s future economy, as it has been in the past, will largely be built around its natural resources.
With the fall of the Soviet Union (and the resulting fall of the barriers throughout the world created by the Cold War), the opening of China and the identification of resources and removal of other investment barriers in large parts of the remainder of the world, Alaska resource development — both oil and minerals — exists in a highly competitive environment. Anglo’s announcement and its implications do not have good things to say about Alaska’s current competitive situation.
Next week’s conference is intended to address the broad range of issues facing investors — and potential investors — in oil, gas and mineral development in Alaska. The list of speakers, agenda and registration details are available here or by clicking on the picture above. The goal of the session is to identify the current issues related to investing in Alaska, what policy makers and others are thinking and doing about them, and identify ways forward on resolving them.
Joe and I intend the conference to be a highly productive effort. We hope that you will be able to join us.