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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 57

ALASKA—1990  57later than 90 days after posting of the location
whichever was later. The rental for each year shall be credited against the
production royalty for that year. Annual rental rates per acre were set at
$0.50 from 0 to 5 years since located, $1.00 for 6 to 10 years, and $2.50
for 1 1 years or more. The holder may pay $100 per claim before the end of
the labor year instead of performing the labor requirement. Failure to pay
rent or royalty is considered abandonment of the claim. 
Payment of a Production Royalty of 3 % on minerals recovered from State lands
is required under Senate Bill 129, Section 38.05.212. A published description
states I'--- the owner, operator and any middle interests monetarily benefiting
from a producing property need to pay production royalty.' The annual rental
due and paid on a mining property shall be credited against the production
royalty for that year. Royalties for the calendar year 1990 were due May
1, 1991, but have been changed to November 30, 1991. Production royalty returns
are due May 1 following each year in which production occurs. Royalty payments
are considered delinquent on December 1 of the year the returns were due.
Failure to file a royalty return when due, or pay any portion of the royalty
when due, constitutes abandonment of the mining claim, leasehold, or mining
lease. The holder of any equity in a State mineral property should obtain
and study a copy of Senate Bill 129 (Ch. 101 ,SLA 89) and Senate Bill 544
(Ch. 92, SLA 90) and the regulations resulting from them. These laws and
regulations are difficult to describe adequately in a brief condensation.
The Mental Health Land Trust problems have not been resolved. In 1990 legislation
provided guaranteed income to the trust to fund mental health costs and added
land to reconstitute the 1 million acres in the original trust. A Superior
Court injunction stopped the conveyance or permitting on any of the trust
land. A proposed agreement that could clear title to the trust land and provide
mental health income was crafted by the Governor and incumbent members of
199 1 legislature. This proposed agreement has not been ruled on to date
by the judge of the court that issued the injunction. 
Handling and dissolution of the Mental Health Trust Lands in past years by
the Alaska legislature resulted in many diverse problems. In 1956, the U.S.
Congress instructed the Territory of Alaska to designate and set aside 1
million acres of land potentially valuable for natural resources in a trust
to fund costs of Alaska's mental health program. The lands were selected
for their known or assumed value to produce income from mineral, coal, and
timber development. About one-half of the lands, containing the most obvious
natural resource values, were disposed of and the State acquired the balance
of the lands by dissolving the trust. Part of this land was disposed of by
sale and lease to various private owners and municipalities. In 1985, a suit
against the State of Alaska was won by concerned advocates of the mental
health program. The suit demanded reconstitution of the land trust. Results
of the suit and other actions stopped development of the new Wishbone Hill
coal property, curtailed activities on part of the Usibelli coal mine and
prohibited issuance of title to other private owners who had bought or leased
land from the trust. Many of these private owners had completed building
dwellings and other structures, and others were unable to arrange financing
for planned projects and improvements. 
Exploration expenditures reported by the State surveys were estimated at
$62.9 million, an increase of almost 17 % over expenditure of $46.8 million
in 1989. Expenditures by commodity groupings in 1990 were precious metals,
$57.2 million (90.9 %); base metals, $5.3 million (8.4 %); industrial and
other nonfuel minerals, $0.4 million (0.7 %). About one-half of the exploration
expenditures were in southeastern Alaska, one-quarter in the eastern interior,
and lesser and decreasing amounts in western, southcentral, southwestern,
peninsula, and northern regions. Most of the exploration effort was on old
mines and prospects. Exploration provided employment for 97,421 workdays,
the equivalent of 374 workyears of 260 days each. This was an increase of
almost 7 % above the employment in 1989. State surveys in 1990 showed that
there were 2,573 new State claims and 1,888 new Federal claims located, compared
to 3,786 State claims and 1664 Federal claims in 1989. There were 62,578
active State and Federal claims in 1990, about 8 % lower than in 1989. There
were 843 active prospecting sites on State lands, consisting of 325 extensions
and 518 new sites. 
Over one-half of the exploration expenditures were spent on four advanced
precious metal projects: the Alaska Juneau and Treadwell Mines, the Kensington
Mine, and the Jualin Mine, all near Juneau, and the Fort Knox prospect property
near Fairbanks. The Alaska Juneau Mine is being planned as a metric 22,500
short tons (st) per day operation, the Kensington is scheduled for 4000 st
per day and the Jualin at about 
400 St per day. Current plans for the Fort Knox project call for a daily
capacity of from 15,000 st per day to 30,000 st per day. Each of these gold
and silver projects would require its own cyanide mill. Exploration continued
at the old Jualin mine with promising results. American Copper Nickel Co.
explored a gold-copper-bismuth deposit and Lac Minerals (USA) Inc. held its
Lookout copper-zinc-gold and Ruby Tuesday leadzinc prospects on Prince of
Wales Island. The Greens Creek Mine was engaged in an underground exploration
drilling program to enlarge its gold-silver-leadzinc reserves on Douglas
Island. Several other companies and individuals also did exploration work
in the Juneau, Ketchikan, and Hyder districts. 
Central Alaska Gold Co. continued exploration of the Nixon Fork goldcopper
deposits northeast of McGrath. It has brought the Mystery sulfide deposits
and the Crystal-Garnet oxidized deposits to the feasibility stage and started
a fasttrack permitting effort. The company reported it is planning on producing

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