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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook 1990
Year 1990, Volume 2 (1990)

Pittman, Tom L.
Alaska,   pp. [54]-70 ff. PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 55

ALASKA—1990  55THE MINERAL INDUSTRY OF ALASKA 
This chapter has been prepared under a Memorandum of Understanding between
the Bureau of Mines, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Division of
Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Alaska Department of Natural Resources,
for collecting information on all nonfuel minerals. 
By Tom L. Pittman' 
Alaska's nonfuel mineral production reported to the Bureau of Mines in 1990
was $576.6 million; in 1989, the value was $213.4 million. Alaska ranked
18th among the States in 1990, up from 36th in 1989. The State ranked first
in production of zinc, second in lead and third in silver. The production
of gold, lead, silver, and zinc by the Greens Creek Mine and of lead, silver,
and zinc by the Red Dog Mine accounted for most of the increase in value.
Greens Creek was in its second year of operation and Red Dog completed its
first year. Gold production in 1990 was more than 18% below that reported
in 1989, according to published State reports. The gold and silver was recovered
by about 218 placer mines and 2 lode mines. A few tons of tin was recovered
as a coproduct at several gold placer operations. Alaska also produced jade,
portland cement, and soapstone. Construction sand and gravel production was
about 1 1 % below 1989 
output. The production of crushed and broken stone was estimated at 7 % lower
than the amount reported in 1989. Nonfuel mineral exploration expenditures
were estimated by the State to be about $62.9 million, up from about $46.8
million in 1989. Almost $57.2 ~ million of this amount was spent on exploration
of precious metal lode and placer deposits. Expenditures on exploration of
four lode gold mines were 
~ $35.7 million: the Alaska Juneau, 
~ Kensington, and Treadwell Mines near 
~ Juneau and the Fort Knox Mine near 
~ Fairbanks. Development ~ expenditures 
~ were reported to be about $ 1 1 .3 million 
~ in 1990, down from $132. 1 million in 
~ 1989. The rapid and drastic drops were 
: due to the virtual completion of the 
~ development programs at the Greens 
~ Creek Mine and at the Red Dog Mine and the transition of those properties
to 
~ producing mines. 
Three bills passed by the Alaska legislature were favored by the minerals
industry. They established the Stan Price State Wildlife Sanctuary on Douglas
Island, the Caribou Creek Recreational Mining Area, and an act relating to
the reclamation of land and water subject to mining operations. The new regulations
required by the reclamation act were not published in 1990. The effective
date of the act was set for October 15, 199 1 . A reclamation permit will
be required for each mining operation in Alaska after this act becomes effective.
The Mental Health Lands Trust is now the subject of a proposed agreement
crafted by the Governor and members of the legislature. The agreement could
clear title to the Trust land, provide revenue for mental health costs and
possibly resolve the constitutional conflicts apparent in the law passed
early in 1990. 
A ruling on this agreement is expected in 
1991 by the court that issued the 
TABLE 1 
NONFUEL MINERAL PRODUCTION IN ALASKA' 
 1988 1989 
1990 
Mineral    .  Value    .  Value Quantity (thousands) Quantity (thousands)
. 
Quantity 
Value 
(thousands) 
Gemstones  NA $50 NA WGold2 kilograms 4,210 59,320 5,756 $70,800Sand and
gravel (construction) thousand short tons 17,200 48,749 °17,000 48,S00Silver'
metric tons 1 135 W WStone (crushed) thousand short tons "1,800 "8,400
2,900
20,300Combined value of cement (portland), lead (1989-90), tin, zinc(1989-90),
and values indicated by symbol W ~            XX            2,040       
    XX            73,752 
 Total xx 118,694 XX 213,352 
NA 
3,232 
15,100 
W 
' 2,700 
XX 
XX 
W 
$40,200 
41,800 
W 
' 19,800 
474,820 
576,620 
' Estimated. NA Not available. W With&id to avoid disclosing company
proprietaiy data; vaiuc incinded with ~Combinod value figure. XX Not appiinsble.
' Production as snoasured by reins Shipmmnis, sales, or marketable production
(including consumption by producers). 
' Recoverable content of ores, etc. 


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