Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook 1990
Year 1990, Volume 2 (1990)
Pittman, Tom L.
Alaska, pp. -70 ff. PDF (3.5 MB)
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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