Alaska Energy Metals’ Upbeat Potential On Advancing America’s Electric Future Through Domestic Nickel Exploration 

By Amit Chowdhry • Dec 6, 2023

Alaska Energy Metals is an Alaska-based mineral exploration company focused on developing the Nikolai project, a sizable polymetallic exploration target containing nickel, copper, cobalt, chrome, iron, platinum, and palladium. 

At the time of writing, Alaska Energy Metals has been coined an eye-catching small-cap mining stock as it’s nearly doubled in 2023. The US Department of Energy has declared nickel will reach critically low levels by 2025. This could single-handedly be the worst moment in history for a low supply of nickel, given its elevated demand across stainless steel and now the electric vehicle industry. The absence of domestic nickel might end up being the very factor that prevents the United States from emerging as the primary global leader in the future of widespread electrification. Alaska Energy Metals is working to ensure this is not the case.

Pulse 2.0 interviewed Alaska Energy Metals CEO Gregory Beischer to learn more about the company.

Gregory Beischer’s Background

Gregory Beischer

Please tell me more about yourself and why you are fit to lead the nickel revolution. Beischer said:

“I hold over four decades of mining experience. I’m a geologist and mining engineer technologist by trade. I hold in-depth knowledge of everything from exploration to mineral extraction and environmental control, mineral processing, geology, mine design, and environmental sustainability. I specialize in the geology of magmatic nickel–copper–platinum deposits.”

“My first exposure to mineral exploration was back in 1980 in the Canadian Arctic with a German company searching for uranium. From there, I landed a job at INCO Limited, commonly known as the 20th century’s largest nickel company (now Vale). I spent two decades with INCO and searched for metal deposits across North America.”

“In 2007, I founded Millrock Resources and spent 15 years as CEO, during which time I led the successful build-out of a company that attracted in excess of US$50 million in capital from major mining companies, junior explorers, and investors. I am the past President of the Alaska Miner’s Association, and currently, I sit on the Board of Alaska’s Resource Development Council and serve on the Alaska Minerals Commission. Last year, I became the CEO of Alaska Energy Metals Corporation.”

“In mining, lots of money is spent, but it’s not often that the hidden ‘prize’ is found. It’s thrilling to make new discoveries, and all it takes is one discovery to pay off.”

Formation Of Alaska Energy Metals

How did Alaska Energy Metals come together? Beischer shared:

“My shift from Millrock to Alaska Energy Metals is best described this way – Millrock was a Project Generator focused on the discovery and development of high-value metallic mineral deposits across several jurisdictions. Alaska Energy Metals, on the other hand, is more selective. We have one major project, The Nikolai Project in Interior Alaska, with a singular focus on securing America’s electric energy future through the domestic production of nickel. Recently, we also acquired the Angliers-Belleterre Project in Quebec, marking our formal expansion across North America.”

“Nickel is a key component of rechargeable batteries and is required to support the transition to electricity. Every EV battery contains 64 pounds of nickel, yet by 2025, the Department of Energy has stated that the US will reach a critically low level of available domestic nickel. Today, the US has only one existing nickel mine. And while the EV Industry is somewhat in its infancy, the stainless steel, aerospace and tech industries also require significant amounts of nickel. This is an alarming scenario and what led me to form Alaska Energy Metals.”

Life In Alaska

What does it mean to you to be based out of Alaska? Beischer reflected:

“One of the reasons I quickly progressed while at INCO was because I was willing to relocate. This ultimately landed me in Alaska in the 1990s, and I haven’t left since. I immediately fell in love with the strong sense of community, the pristine environment, the mineral potential, and strong environmental protection standards.”

“This, perhaps, is one of the reasons I strongly support our domestic mining industry. Modern North American mining really does it right, unlike jurisdictions like Indonesia, which engage in highly harmful environmental practices and lack human safety regulations.”

“Circling back to my time with INCO – we first arrived in Alaska in 1995, the same year I moved here, to explore Nikolai, the very same project Alaska Energy Metals has acquired the rights to 30 years later.”

Nickel Discovery Journey

Where is the company on its journey to a nickel discovery? Beischer explained:

“While INCO never found what it was looking for, in November, we announced a Maiden NI43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate exceeding 1.5 billion pounds of contained nickel, which means the Eureka Zone is quickly evolving into one of the larger nickel resources on the continent.”

“Our 2023 exploration program has come to a close and will resume in March 2024.”

Importance Of The Nickel Industry

Why is nickel so important, and what is the current state of the nickel industry? Beischer noted:

“Well, nickel is one of the most significant minerals in the battery supply chain. It’s used in several defense applications, and in 2020, the federal government added nickel to the U.S. critical minerals list. Nickel has also been designated under Title III of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended, as “essential to the national defense.”

“Right now, nickel is going through the same paradigm shift that copper went through in the 1950s.”

“In 2021, we saw demand for electric vehicles grow by over 100%. This pulled the trigger on nickel demand, which grew at 15% per year. That was 3 to 5x what other base metals grew, and there was not a single analyst who was anywhere close to predicting this.”

“Nickel will be the main limiting factor on America’s ability to transition fully to EVs because the United States is vulnerable to supply disruption of nickel and must develop its own domestic sources. While Indonesia currently produces much of the world’s nickel, Indonesia’s reserves of high-grade nickel ore may be depleted in six years, according to the Indonesian Nickel Miners Association.”

Future Goals

If a resource is discovered, what is the plan for the company? Beischer concluded:

“We have already discovered and announced the first two resources. Our plan now is to do more drilling to expand the resource. From sporadic historic drilling between the two established deposits, we know the two deposits likely join together.”

“With a resource expansion accomplished in 2024, we will then move to a preliminary economic assessment, and then with future infill drilling, move to the feasibility study stage. Alaska Energy Metals will likely not be the company that undertakes mine construction. Our expertise lies in discovering and delineating the metal in the ground. We hope to sell the deposit or the company, and in so doing, have created tremendous value for our shareholders.”

“The most probable scenario is that a large global company may become the ultimate project owner. In line with this vision, we would welcome strategic investment proposals from mining, processing, and refining companies as well as battery or car manufacturers that wish to secure raw materials supplies.”

“When the time comes to bring in a substantial partner, AEMC will be judicious and exercise careful discernment in who it chooses to ensure our values are shared and well-aligned.”