Short Course #1:  Critical & Strategic Minerals


The Short Course includes a review of the major mineral deposit types that are host to the fourteen rare earth elements (REEs), the six platinum group elements (PGEs) and seven other critical and strategic elements that are particularly germane to Alaska. Examples of known occurrences of those deposit types in Alaska and northwestern Canada along with the potential for the discovery of new occurrences of these deposit types shall be discussed.


Jim Barker

Jim Barker is a geologist with a half century of experience in the mining and geological industries including about twenty years as supervisor of the Fairbanks office, U.S. Bureau of Mines where he managed a program to investigate strategic and critical minerals throughout Alaska.   Since 1992 he has provided geological consulting services from his office in Fairbanks and specialized in working in remote locations.  Jim is a long-time member of the American Institute of Professional Geologists, the Society of Economic Geologists, and the AMA, and currently makes his home in Ketchikan.

Thomas K. Bundtzen

Thomas K. Bundtzen is a Fairbanks-based, geologist that has been active in Alaska for more than 40 years.  He received a BS degree in Mining Geology from the College of Earth Sciences and Mineral Industries (CESMI) at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) in 1973 and an M.S. Degree in Economic Geology at UAF in 1981.  For 25 years, Tom was Senior Economic Geologist with the geological survey division of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, where he designed and later wrote the Alaska Minerals Report Summary for two decades. During the 1980s, Tom wrote technical summaries for the State of Alaska outlining what was known about strategic and critical minerals in Alaska and the policies developed to extract them.    

Tom retired from state service and established Pacific Rim Geological Consulting, Inc. (PRGCI), a Fairbanks-based consulting company.   He has conducted mineral studies in Alaska, Northwest Canada, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Russian Federation.   

A past Statewide President of the Alaska Miners Association, Tom is the current President of the Alaska Mining Hall of Fame Foundation, an organization that honors Alaska’s Mining Pioneers. 

Jeff Foley

Jeff Foley is originally from Louisville, Kentucky.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army, and served in Vietnam as a Pathfinder with the 101st Airborne Division from 1970-1971.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the University of Kentucky, Lexington and a Master of Science degree in Geology from University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  Jeff was employed by the U.S. Bureau of Mines from 1979 until 1996 when he began his twenty-year tenure with Calista Corporation, a regional Alaska Native Corporation.  Prior to 1979, Jeff worked in Alaska for ASAMERA Oil Company and Cities Services Minerals and in Kentucky for the Kentucky State Geological Survey.  He served two terms on the Alaska Miners Association board, two terms on the Alaska State Forestry Board and 17 years as an Alaska Resource Development Council board member. Mr. Foley authored more than 30 papers describing chromium and PGE mineral occurrences associated with mafic and ultramafic rocks in Alaska.


Jeff relocated to Kalispell Montana in 2016, where he provides firearms training as an NRA Instructor and a USCCA Instructor and Training Counselor.

Paul Metz

Paul Metz received a B.S. degree in the Geological Engineering from Michigan Technological University (MTU) in 1968, an MBA with an emphasis in engineering economics and finance from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1972, an M.S. in Economic Geology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1975 and a Ph.D. in Mining Geology from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, University of London in 1991.  He received a Commission in the U.S. Air Force upon graduation from MTU and held various positions in Air Force Civil Engineering in Alaska from 1968 through 1974.  From 1975 to present, he has been employed as a Research Engineer and Professor of Geological Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has severed two terms as the Chair of the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering and two terms as the Director of the Mineral Industry Research Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has conducted numerous research projects on mineral and energy resources with a focus on resource development in the arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, and Russia.  He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in geological engineering, engineering geology, mineral exploration, mineral property evaluation, and mineral economics.  He is a Certified Professional Geologist by the American Institute of Professional Geologists and a Licensed Professional Geologist (Engineering Geology) in Wisconsin.

Short Course #2:  Placer Mine Permitting

This short course is designed to provide small mines operators with information to help them navigate the permitting process. Presenters will cover the gamut of federal, state, and Fairbanks North Star Borough permitting and compliance requirements for mining operations. 



John Hoppe - Geologist, BLM

Dave Charron - Geologist , DNR