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Tangle Lakes/MAN Project

Exploration for nickel, copper, and platinum is currently occurring at Tangle Lakes. The area being explored provides important caribou winter habitat and is a favorite area for recreation. Learn more about the exploration at Tangle Lakes and the NAEC's concerns.





Exploration for nickel, copper, and platinum is currently occurring at Tangle Lakes. The Tangle Lakes area is located one hundred miles south of Fairbanks, along the Denali Highway, on the south side of the Alaska Range (click here for map).

Exploration Activity

In 2004, Nevada Star Resources, a junior exploration company based in Canada, partnered with Anglo American to conduct exploration activities on nickel/copper/platinum claims surrounding Tangle Lakes; the claims are all located on state land north of the Denali Highway. Exploration activities included drilling and airborne and ground geophysical surveys. After three years of exploration — including two seasons of drilling— Anglo American terminated its exploration agreement with Nevada Star. In early 2007, Pure Nickel acquired the claims from Nevada Star through a merger, and has since partnered with Itochu Corp., a Tokyo based company. With financing from Itochu, Pure Nickel is currently conducting exploratory drilling of deposits in two areas:  the Beta zone (within sight and sound of the Denali Highway and Tangle Lakes) and the Alpha Zone (to the north of the Beta Zone, behind the Amphitheater Mountains). These claims cover about 160,000 acres, or about 250 square miles.

What's at Risk

The claimed area includes the northern third of the Tangle Lakes Archeological District and surrounds the Delta Wild and Scenic River corridor. At risk for hardrock mining, the Tangle Lakes area provides essential caribou wintering habitat for the Nelchina herd and other subsistence resources, contains hundreds of archeological sites, and is a favorite for many sportsmen, paddlers, campers, adventurers, and sightseers.

Proposed Tangle Lakes Wildlife Refuge (c) CCA

Local Fish and Game Advisory Committees and others have recommended that—because they contain such important caribou winter habitat—lands closest to the highway and the Tangles be designated as the Tangle Lakes State Wildlife Refuge. This would take in less than half of the Pure Nickel claims.


Click here to sign the petition to create a state wildlife refuge at Tangle Lakes or download the report below.  


For more info, check out



Pete Dronkers, Northern Alaska Environmental Center:

(907) 452-502, or


Ruth McHenry, Copper Country Alliance 

(907) 822-3644, or


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