Alaska’s Rare Earth Pebble Mine

Alaska’s Pebble Mine is in the news, as Donald Trump Junior urges his father to oppose it.  That won’t happen, in my opinion, because the Pebble Mine should be opened in the interest of national security.  For President Trump, our freedom from foreign suppliers is in the national security interest.  Pebble should be opened, if for no other reason, for its rare earth minerals.

Pebble is one of only two massive deposits of a particular type of ore.  The other deposit is in Indonesia, and is mined by Freeport-McMoran.  These ores are valuable mainly for their copper and gold content.  But Pebble has more than copper and gold, it has palladium and rhenium, rare earth minerals which are essential to high tech manufacturing.

Pebble can be safely developed, just as the Red Dog mine a few hundred miles north and west has been.  Red Dog is the largest zinc mine in the world.  It’s in the middle of the Alaska wilderness.  It has been in full operation for 34 years, with no environmental harm.  It’s on land owned by an Alaska Native Corporation, and the Natives of this region benefit handsomely from the profits of the mine.  420 people are employed there, with many of them Alaska Natives.

This should be the model for Pebble.  The operator of Red Dog, Teck Alaska Inc., must operate Pebble just as Red Dog is operated.  The local Native population must have a major financial stake in the development of the mine.  Natives need to employed, whenever possible, in the construction and operation of Pebble.  The highest environmental standards of any mine on earth should be imposed on the developer.  This is a highly sensitive area, and must be completely protected from damage to its environment.

President Trump will support Pebble because it’s in the national security interest of the United States.  But it will also be good for the Native people of Alaska, and the state as a whole.

F. S. Pettyjohn’s Story

I spent over forty years in Alaska, with time out as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II, and an Arctic survival instructor during Korea, and two trips to South America.

I was raised on a cattle ranch on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the badlands of South Dakota, and left home at the age of 14 after completing the sixth grade.

I hoboed all over the western United States, Canada and Mexico, working the harvest fields, the timber lands, rodeos, road construction, mines, and prospecting for gold.  I prospected all over Alaska, and in between trips I worked for Cal Lathrop in the coal mines at Healy, on a survey crew on the DEW Line on the Arctic Ocean from Barrow to Barter Island, and points in between.  I guided the first cat train between Fairbanks and the Canadian Arctic for Al Ghezzi of the Alaska Freight lines, and worked on the docks at Valdez.  I was an assistant to Slim Moore (a big game guide) and took local hunters out on my own.

In 1953 I discovered the MacLaren River copper lode and in 1956 incorporated the MacLaren River Copper Corporation operation with my old partner Everett Albertson of Fairbanks.  I mined copper until the price was driven down and then frozen by our benevolent government.

In 1957 I married Helen Mary Lorell, also of the Pine Ridge Reservation, and thenceforth she accompanied me on my various ventures, with the exception of South America.

In 1963, because of the increased cost of supplies and wages and the low price of gold, I quit prospecting and purchased Sourdough Roadhouse on the Richardson Trail, which, with the exception of taking care of a goodly number of people from Valdez immediately following the great earthquake, was a resounding flop.

In 1965 we moved to Anchorage, where I appeared on television in a daily morning show between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. called Breakfast in Bedlam.  I had a 15-minute segment “Pettyjohn on Alaska” where I told stories of Alaska history, the dance hall girls, and the old sourdoughs.  The rest of the show I kibitzed.

In 1966 some of my loyal fans organized the Pettyjohn Fan Club, a first for Alaska. and which eventually numbered a membership of over 300 members.  While on television, and for many years afterwards, I lectured on Alaska history and told stories in Anchorage schools, at the Anchorage Museum of Fine Arts, and various civic clubs.

During the Alaska Centennial I was in charge of the Native artifact exhibits and the Native dancing at the Iglu-Puk, the Alaska Native Cultural Exhibit at Anchorage International Airport.

I was on the first Board of Directors at the Anchorage Museum of Fine Arts under Mike Kennedy, and produced and directed live stage shows circa the dance hall girls.

In 1970, along with Miki Ballard of Anchorage, I founded “The Alaskana”, a monthly publication dealing with Alaska history and stories of the goldrush days.  It was distributed to all the towns and Native villages of Alaska, and was carried by all the major airlines serving the state.

In 1978 during the great Peruvian gold rush, Mike Barrego, a prospector, and Jon Adams, an engineer, and I traveled to Peru to relocate Swiftwater Bill Gates’ lost gold mine.  We located the mine on the river Tunquimaye near Puerto Maldanaldo, District of Cuzco.  We leased the ground, and while Mike and Jon traveled through the jungle with an Indian crew to inspect the mine, I returned to Alaska to obtain additional financing.  When the boys reached Swiftwater Bill’s lost mine they found that all the gold had been mined out years before, and they returned to Alaska a mite disappointed.

I returned to Peru the following year by myself, employed an Indian crew, and commenced prospecting several jungle river systems.  Finding paying gold near the headwaters of the Rio Inanbari, District of Cuzco, I immediately leased 70,000 acres along said river.  We lost Swiftwater Bill’s mine and my holdings along the Inanbari due to a change in government, exactly as had Swiftwater in the old days.  Another fiasco.  So much for big dreams.

In my years in Alaska I prospected with a pack on my back and a pick and shovel, by horse and by dog teams, cross-country vehicles and river boats, D-8 cats, planes, and helicopters, sometimes with a crew of up to six men, but mostly alone.  I located and staked over 1,000 claims in Alaska alone, working or selling at least one-third of them.

In 1981 we moved to Prescott, Arizona, as I was employed by a group of New York investors as a consultant on the Glory-Anna gold mine just north of Phoenix.

In 1983 I retired, first in Happy Camp, California, thence to Mountain Gate, a suburb of Redding, California.

In 1984 and 1985, along with my nephew  Richard Pettyjohn, I prospected and staked 100 mining claims, just to keep a hand in.

My only regret is that I was never able to secure a large enough grubstake to prospect Antarctica, where I know the greatest mother lode of all creation must exist.

I am now 70 years old, and still ready to stampede at the merest whisper of gold.


[written by F. S. Pettyjohn in 1987]

Driving your opponents crazy

There are groups of people in cities like Portland who have completely gone off the rocker.  These people are stone cold crazy.  I think it was the isolation that got to them.  All cooped up in their little apartments, with nothing to do but nurture your various pathologies.  They went nuts.

There is a whole lot of craziness going on in this country right now.  I think it’s infectious.  I think these people feed off each other.  The longer this goes on, the greater the rage that they feel.  It would be comical, except it’s very likely to end in serious bloodshed.

Unless.  Unless Attorney General Barr and the Department of Justice have the resources to put this fire out.  President Trump does not lack the will.  Let’s hope he has the means.

George Soros is a pathological America-hater, and he’s got some skin in this game.  I say charge him.  Even if there are holes in your case, an indictment would bring public attention to this sick, twisted man.

The media are beclowning themselves.  They’ve allowed the madness to infect them.  Their hatred of Trump has driven them over the edge, into a mockery of themselves.  They will never recover their credibility.

There are signs that Covid deaths have peaked, and started their slow decline.  If the downward curve resembles the upward one, this should all be over in November.

Just in time for what will really cause these people to lose it.  Trump in a landslide.

Stand up for your country

Among the great powers of world history, only two have had no natural enemies, and thus no incentive for war of any kind.  No threats from without, and thus no reason to wage preemptive war.  Two accidents of geography, two great empires, two dynasties of peace.

Egypt was the first.  Its borders are unique in the history of civilization.  Its western side is protected by 600 miles of desert.  To the east is the Sinai Peninsula.  The 300 miles from the Nile delta, across the Sinai, east into the Jordan River valley have been a formidable barrier since ancient times.  If you come from the north, down the Nile, you’ll travel 900 miles from the first area with a climate capable of supporting a population.  And you’ll go through impassable cataracts along the way.

Invading Egypt was really, really hard.  And for Egypt to invade a neighbor, it had to caravan across hundreds on miles of wasteland, or ascend hundreds of miles of river.  It didn’t make sense, especially because Egypt had all the wealth it needed.

Its wealth was made possible by the bounty of the Nile Valley, which has produced the most consistent food surpluses in all of world history.  And it has created  the world’s densest population for all of history, anywhere in the world, at any time.

The river doesn’t just bring soil, and water, it also unites the entire valley with a cheap means of mass transportation.  Egypt was destined not only to be wealthy, and peaceful, but to be one united country.  It’s golden age lasted 2.800 years.

The United States is the second great, natural, world historical dynasty.  Like the Egyptians before us, we have no natural enemies, and no other great power threatens us.  We have everything we need, all the wealth we need, within North America.  The greater Midwest is the largest contiguous area of high quality farmland in the world.  We have recently discovered that we are not only energy self-sufficient, but energy dominant.  When the Alaska’s Ambler mining district is developed (soon), we’ll have all the rare earth minerals we need.  Our 17,600 miles of internal waterways exceed those of the rest of the world, combined.

Our neighbors, north and south, are allies and economic dependents.  Our geographic borders are the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Arctic, and the jungle wastes of Central America.  Our navy rules the waves, and our air force rules the skies.  We have nothing to fear, and no need to fight anyone, for anything.

But our internal geography is a stark contrast to Egypt.  The huge disciplined work force needed to tame the Nile, and work the land, guaranteed slave labor.  And the great mass of Egyptians have been virtual slaves throughout history.

The best part of North America, which we inhabit, couldn’t be more different.  It’s naturally suited to individual enterprise, and the family farm.  And that farming tradition of hard work and self-reliance is the foundation of our American culture, and our political freedom.

How long will our dynasty last?  As long as we want.  Or you can put it another way.  We’ll last as long as we can defend ourselves from enemies within.  It’s a country worth fighting for.  Everything it stands for is under attack. Will we defend our heritage?

What are people afraid of?  Why are there so many cowards among us?  Why are so few of us willing to take a stand?

“How can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people?  How can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?” Esther 8:6.


What are you?

That’s the question for a lot of black, latino and asian-Americans.  Are they blacks, or latinos, or Asians?  Or are they Americans?

A few years ago there was a big push to rename the Washington Redskins.  It was an election year, and the Republican candidate for Governor of Virginia, Ed Gillespie, ran an ad on Sunday Night Football right before the election.  The Redskins were playing, and most of the black guys in northern Virginia were watching the game.  Gillespie came out strong against messing with the Redskins.

Two days later, on election night, I remember watching a TV analyst puzzling over the numbers coming in for the Virginia Governor’s race.  Gillespie was massively overperforming in the predominantly black districts of northern Virginia.  It almost won him the election.

Today a poll says a third of blacks oppose renaming the Washington Redskins.  These are potential Republicans.  They get it.  They like the name Redskins.  When they were kids they used to wish they were Redskins themselves.  And a lot of American blacks have substantial Indian blood, and they’re proud of it.

Real Americans love and admire the great American Indian.  I wanted to be an Plains Indian when I was a kid. They never worked, they just went hunting and raising hell.  And they were bad asses.  Chief Red Cloud and the Lakota Sioux defeated the United States Army in what is known to history as Red Cloud’s War.

My father claimed he was part Oglala Sioux.  He had a big portrait made of himself, all decked out like an Indian, and hung it over his fireplace.  His wife, my Aunt Helen Mary, was, in fact, a quarter Sioux.

When I told him I was going to be applying for law school, he almost talked me into claiming to be part Indian myself.  But I had my doubts.  This guy loved making up stories.  I found out later it was all a bunch of hooey.

But he did  teach me a lot about all the Native people of Alaska, including the Aleuts, and the Yupik, Inuit and Inupiat Eskimos.  One of the few things he left me was a sled made of baleen, hand crafted by the Inupiats.  He said he lived with them for a while.  I’ve got it hanging on the wall of my office, right above the ammunition parachute from Arnhem.

These people survived for thousands of years, isolated in the most extreme environment on earth.  What kind of a person doesn’t admire that?