Celebrate the mining industry on Alaska Day

Posted on October 18, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

On Oct. 18, 1867, the Territory of Alaska was transferred from Russia to the United States and adopted into the Union. In the 146 years since, Alaska has grown into a mining powerhouse, providing in-demand mineral resources to the manufacturing and technology industries, among others.

As one of the top mineral-producing states, Alaska offers vast deposits of silver and lead, as well as gold and zinc — the second and third most valuable domestic mineral resources, respectively. The export value of mined resources in Alaska reached $2 billion in 2011, nearly 38 percent of the state’s total exports. Gold mining alone produced 85,000 ounces to be used in manufacturing and production.

The additional economic benefits of Alaskan mining are truly staggering. Mining has become a stable revenue source for local governments through exploration and site development costs, royalties, rents and tax revenues. In fact, just one mine — the Red Dog Mine, one of the world’s largest zinc sources — paid the local government $13 million in 2012, allowing the government to develop local services.

Alaska’s mining industry does more than provide valuable minerals and revenue. By providing 5,360 direct jobs and 5,520 indirect positions, mining employs residents in more than 120 communities from 26 of 29 Alaskan boroughs and offers internships for local students. Additionally, companies support area businesses by purchasing necessary supplies and services.

Today, on Alaska Day, we celebrate the mining success of The Last Frontier in hopes that legislators and public officials will recognize the importance of this industry and create policies that allow it to continue growing.

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