Mining is vital to the economies of Southeast Alaska, providing jobs for thousands of Alaskans and millions of dollars of personal income. Alaska’s mining industry includes exploration, mine development, and mineral production. Alaska’s mines produce coal, gold, lead, silver, zinc, as well as construction materials, such as sand, gravel, and rock. Continued investments by the mining industry ensure Alaska’s continued economic growth.
In 2021, Alaska’s mining industry provided:
5,400 direct mining jobs in Alaska.
10,800 total direct and indirect jobs are attributed to Alaska mining industry.
$985 million in total direct and indirect payroll.
$640 million spent with 400+ local businesses.
$44 million in local tax revenue to support services like libraries, road repairs, and public safety.
$83 million in state government revenue for services like education, highways, and airports.
$161 million in royalty payments to Alaska Native Corporations.
Mostly year-round jobs for residents of more than 95 communities throughout Alaska, half of which are found in rural Alaska where few other jobs are available.
$800,000 to civic, business, and industry organizations through sponsorships and membership fees.
Over $1.1 million was contributed to the University of Alaska and Vocational Schools.
$3.3 million in contributions to 250 Alaskan non-profits.
Each year the Alaska Miners Association (AMA) commissions the McKinley Research Group to research the economic impact of Mining in Alaska. Continued investments by the mining industry ensure Alaska’s continued economic growth.
Click here to read the current (2021) Economic Impact Report for Mining in Alaska
The Greens Creek Mine consists of an underground mine that delivers a polymetallic (silver, zinc, gold, and lead) ore to a surface mill and concentrator, which in turn produces three separate concentrates. These concentrates are shipped to various smelters throughout the world on a regular basis. Greens Creek is the largest silver mine in the U.S., and in the top 10 producers worldwide. Greens Creek is also the largest Southeast Alaska for-profit employer, in terms of payroll.
The Kensington Gold Mine is located on the east side of Lynn Canal about 45 miles north-northwest of Juneau, Alaska. It is an underground gold mine accessed by a three mile long horizontal tunnel and uses conventional and mechanized underground mining methods. The ore is processed in a flotation mill that produces a gold-bearing concentrate which is sold to smelters.
In operation since 1989, Red Dog is a zinc-lead mine located in Northwest Alaska, near Kotzebue, and one of the world's largest producer of zinc concentrate. The mine was developed under an innovative operating agreement between the NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (NANA), a Native corporation owned by the Inupiat people of Northwest Alaska, and Teck Alaska Incorporated, a U.S. subsidiary of Teck Resources Limited, a diversified mining company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
The Fort Knox Mine is an open-pit gold mine, located approximately 26 miles northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska. Kinross acquired a 100% interest in the mine in 1998. Fort Knox employs 400-425 people at the mine and mill, which operate on two shifts, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
Pogo is an underground gold mine located 38 miles northeast of Delta Junction, Alaska and 85 miles east-southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska. It utilizes a cut and fill drift method. The mill produces 1,000 ounces of gold per day. The milling operation includes grinding, sulfide flotation, paste thickening, Leach/CIP, cyanide detoxification, tailings filtration, a paste mix plant for underground paste backfill, water treatment, and gravity recovery.
Donlin Gold is working to build a gold mining project in the Yukon Kuskokwim region that can enrich the lives of residents. The project will offer hundreds of jobs and leave employees with work skills that will serve them long into the future. Donlin Gold is equally owned and supported by NovaGold Resources and Barrick Gold Corporation. Located in Western Alaska, Donlin Gold is one of the largest known undeveloped gold deposits in the world, with probable reserves estimated at 33.8 million ounces of gold. Based on exploration results, the Donlin Gold project will be an environmentally sound, open-pit gold mine. Located about 10 miles from Crooked Creek Village, the project would process approximately 59,000 short tons of ore per day. The Donlin Gold project would provide up to 3,000 jobs during construction, whish is estimated to take three to four years. Between 800 and 1,400 jobs are projected throughout the estimated 27+ year operational phase.
Founded in 1943 by Emil Usibelli, Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. is located in the mountains of the Alaska Range, near the town of Healy, Alaska. UCM is 115 miles south of Fairbanks and 250 miles north of Anchorage adjacent to the Parks Highway and Alaska Railroad. UCM currently has a work force of about 130 employees, and operates year-round. Mine production has grown from 10,000 tons in 1943 to an average above 2 million tons of coal per year. Currently the only operational coal mine in Alaska, UCM is supported by the most modern mining equipment and state-of-the-art engineering. Today, UCM supplies coal to six Interior Alaska power plants and exports coal to Chile, South Korea and several other Pacific Rim destinations. UCM sponsors many community events and activities, and through The Usibelli Foundation, funds numerous scholarships, and provides grants to more than 100 organizations annually. (Information obtained in 2013 from the Usibelli Coal Mine)
Situated in the Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska on state land designated for mineral exploration and development, Pebble consists of two adjacent deposits – the near-surface Pebble West deposit and the deeper, richer Pebble East deposit – and is one of the most important concentrations of copper, gold, molybdenum and silver in the world.
The Niblack Project is a copper-zinc-gold-silver prospect in an advanced exploration phase of development. The proposed underground exploration project is located off Moira Sound on southeastern Prince of Wales Island, approximately 30 miles southwest of the town of Ketchikan.
International Tower Hill Mines is focused on the rapid exploration and development of its 100% controlled world-class Livengood Gold Project located 70 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska. Livengood project ranks as one of the largest gold deposits discovered globally in 20 years.