Minerals Development

Advantages

  • Alaska is centrally located to service the Pacific Rim and the western coasts of Canada and the US and positioned to serve European markets by the North Sea Route.
  • Alaska has a stable political environment and a well-trained and educated work force.
  • Alaska offers prospective land, sanctity of title with approximately 190 million acres are open for mineral-related activities and mining.
Reclamation and Bond Pool

Alaska's mining reclamation statute is logical and reasonable while still ensuring that a mined area is left in a stable condition that will provide for public safety and environmental integrity. State statute requires bonding in the fairest possible way, and a bonding pool is available that provides access to bonding and limits the miner's cost to a payment into a refundable escrow account with a small annual service fee.

Geological and Geophysical Program

The State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) provides detailed geological maps of some of the more highly mineralized areas to supplement the larger-scale, less detailed Mineral Resource Assessment maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Since 1993, the DGGS invests in modern airborne geophysical surveys, using helicopters as the platform for the magnetic and electromagnetic instruments. This program continued through 1997, with over a dozen mining districts being flown to date. The completion of these surveys is greatly anticipated and have resulted in better understanding of the geology and mineralization with an increase in exploration activity.

Permit Coordination

Numerous state, federal, and local government permits and approvals are required before construction and operation of a large hardrock mine in Alaska can begin. The DNR Office of Project Management and Permitting (OPMP) coordinates the review of larger scale projects in the state. Through OPMP, a project coordinator is assigned to each project in order to facilitate inter-agency coordination and a cooperative working relationship with the project proponent.The project coordinator facilitates these connections for the project and helps to steer the project through the state approval process.OPMP project coordinators for mining projects work with the inter-agency Large Mine Permitting Team, responsible for the permitting activities for large mine projects in the state. The LMPT also works with Canadian regulatory agencies and reviews Canadian mining projects which could potentially impact Alaskan waters and fish resources


Incentives

Exploration Incentive Credit Program

The 1995 Alaska Exploration Incentives Act created the Exploration Incentive Credit Program which allows a deduction of up to $20 million of qualified costs from taxes and royalties over a 15-year period for new mines. The exploration credits are site specific and may be assigned to successors in interest, and can continue to be earned up to receipt of the final operating permit. To facilitate record keeping, the credits must be certified annually, with all submitted relevant data kept confidential for three years.

Equity Partnering

The State of Alaska, through the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), is able to participate as an equity partner in minerals development. In recent years AIDEA has financed the transportation system, including the 52-mile road and upgrades, to the port that serves the Red Dog Mine in northwest Alaska. AIDEA financed the remodeling and upgrading of the Skagway ore terminal that serves Yukon base metal mines in the port city of Skagway. Additionally, AIDEA assumed an equity interest in Alaska's only export coal terminal located in Seward. In all instances, the state recovers its investment and a modest rate of return through user fees negotiated with the mineral company using the facilities.