Alaska Miners Association - Reference Material
America's Sleeping Giant
Alaska now provides the greatest opportunity for minerals exploration and development in all of North America.
There is more land in Alaska open to mineral entry than in any other western state. As compared to other parts of North America, Alaska has had very little mineral exploration and very little mining. Major world class deposits are known to exist, some of which are being developed at this time. And just as important, as oil production from Prudhoe Bay decreases, Alaskans are encouraging mineral development and see it as having the greatest hope for significant future economic development.
Alaska Has a History of Being Elephant Country
Alaska is known for its mineral elephants. The copper deposit at Kennecott provided the base for the modern mining giant of the same name and contained ore grading as high as 70% copper with the average mill grade for the mine life at 12%. The Alaska-Juneau underground mine milled 12,500 tons per day in the early part of this century and will likely re-open at 22,500 tons per day. The Greens Creek Mine has produced 7.6 million oz. silver, 37,000 oz. gold, and 58,700 tons of lead-zinc concentrates per year. The Red Dog mine has produced more than 550,000 tons of zinc, lead, and combined concentrates per year and at that rate has a mine life of more than 50 years. The recently discovered (1989) Pebble Copper deposit is know to contain at least 500 million tons grading 0.35% copper and 0.012 oz per ton gold.
It is estimated that there is as much coal in Alaska as in the remainder of the U.S. combined. All of this coal is very low sulfur and it is well positioned to compete in the Pacific Rim with coals from Australia and Indonesia. In addition to federal and state owned coal, there is also privately owned coal in some areas and these private owners are actively working to develop these coal fields.
Many other elephants are known to exist. Some are being reevaluated for application of modern mining and extractive technologies. Others are being evaluated for infrastructure development.
Alaska Has Land Available
It is well known that the U.S. Congress has established many parks, preserves, refuges, etc. in Alaska but there is still a tremendous amount of federal, state, and private Native Corporation lands that are available for minerals development. The amount of federal land open to mineral entry (49.6 million acres) is larger than the entire area of the states of Washington, South Dakota or Nebraska.
The amount of state land open to mineral entry (95.9 million acres) is nearly the size of the entire state of California. Much of these state lands were specifically selected because of their high coal and hardrock mineral potential. State law encourages and even mandates development of resources.
Alaska is unique in that twelve Native Corporations own more than 44 million acres of private land. Much of these lands were selected specifically for their mineral potential before most State selections or the establishment of the parks and refuges.
These Native Corporations have been in existence for more than twenty years and have tried many avenues to develop jobs for their regions. Because of Red Dog and other smaller projects they have seen what mining can do for the economy, especially in remote areas, and they want economic development for their regions and jobs for their people. These Native Corporations are not "reservations", they are modern businesses and they are actively marketing their lands for mineral development.
Alaska is Essentially Un-Explored
Because of past federal and state policies, the climate, remoteness, and a short summer exploration season, Alaska has had relatively little exploration -far less than any other part of the United States and less than most other parts of the world. The surface is typically covered by forest, tundra, or snow and ice and is not readily visible. The new exploration techniques developed over the past 20 years have been applied to only a few small areas of the state, much less than 5%.
Alaska Has Stable and Progressive Tax and Regulatory Policies
Alaska has a 7% net profits mining license tax on all mineral production, a 3% net profits royalty on minerals from state lands, and a graduated claim rental beginning at $0.50/acre. Alaska state corporate income tax is 9.4% if net profit is more than a set threshold amount. Alaska does not now have a statewide sales tax nor a personal income tax. In 1992 the Alaska Legislature passed a bill specifically exempting in situ mineral reserves from taxation until they are mined.
Alaska's mining reclamation statute is logical and reasonable while still ensuring that the area mined is left in a stable condition that will provide for public safety and not pollute the environment. The statute requires bonding in the fairest possible way. The miner is held responsible for the reclamation but a bonding pool is available that provides access to bonding and limits the miner's cost to payment into a refundable escrow account and a small annual service fee.
Alaska Wants Mining
Alaskans are beginning to recognize that mining has the greatest potential for economic development and new jobs for all areas of the state. Oil production is declining at a rate of 7% per year. Harvesting timber is coming under increased pressure and will not provide new jobs and economic development. Tourism is important and may expand but primarily with short term, seasonal, entry-level jobs. Commercial fishing is already over-allocated and the future of that industry will be with the courts deciding who will get the fish. That leaves mining. And mining can provide challenging, skilled, good-paying, year-around jobs for all areas of the state.
Alaska Now Has a Growing Mining Industry
During the next 18 months, six mining projects in Alaska will be at a stage where they could make decisions to begin construction of major mines. Now is the first time that such a statement could have been made since 1902! There are no guarantees. Each has significant design, permitting, market and/or financing challenges that must be overcome and the owners are working on these remaining challenges.
Shouldn't You Be Part of This Exciting Time in Alaska?
There are various ways to approach mineral exploration in Alaska.
No matter what your level of interest at this time, you will want to join the Alaska Miners Association to stay abreast of events in the 49th state. Membership includes the annual Service Directory and the monthly journal The Alaska Miner. Call or write today to:
Alaska Miners Association
- Contact the state Division of Mining, Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service to learn about their respective lands.
- Contact the 12 Native Corporations for information on leasing their privately owned lands.
- Use the Alaska Miners Association annual Service Directory to contact mining companies now operating in the state or to contact independent prospectors, geologists, engineers and others that have properties or know of properties that have already been discovered.
- Attend the Alaska Miners Association annual convention and trade show that is held in Anchorage each year during the first week of November.
- Attend the spring Bi-annual Placer Conference held in Fairbanks (even years) or the spring Biannual Conference Juneau held in Juneau (odd years), both orgainzed by the Alaska Miners Association.
3305 Arctic Boulevard, Suite 202
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone (907) 563-9229
FAX (907) 563-9225