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Alaska Natural Resources Propel State Economy


Alaska is a natural resources state, which includes oil and gas, mining, forestry, fisheries, and tourism industries providing jobs and revenue to the overall economy as well as to state, local, and federal governments. There are two great conferences this month, and the November issue of Alaska Business Monthly is packed with natural resources articles.

We’ve highlighted the mining industry in our annual special section, which begins on page 74 with a message from Alaska Miners Association Executive Director Deantha Crockett: “The Future of Mining in Alaska.” The organization’s Fall Convention and Trade Show “Mining Alaska: Prospect to Profit” is November 1-7 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage and is not to be missed. I’ve included a few details from the Alaska Miners Association.


In 2014, the Mining Industry provided:

  • 4,400 direct mining jobs in Alaska
  • 8,700 total direct and indirect jobs attributed to Alaska mining industry
  • $620 million in total direct and indirect payroll
  • $144 million in payments to Alaska Native corporations
  • $119 million in state government revenue through rents, royalties, fees, and taxes
  • $20 million in local government revenue through property taxes and payments in lieu of taxes


We’ve included a Natural Resources special section, and it begins on page 110, right after the Mining special section. Later in the month, November 18 and 19, the RDC (Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.) will host its 36th Annual Alaska Resources Conference, also at the Dena’ina Center—also not to be missed. The RDC is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and its mission is “to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.”

The RDC’s 2015 Annual Report includes a brief overview of several natural resources industries—the conference will include a wealth of information. I’ve included a few details from the annual report.


Since 1977, the Oil & Gas Industry has provided:

  • 17 billion barrels of oil, produced on Alaska’s North Slope
  • 90 percent of the state’s General Fund unrestricted revenue
  • $180 billion in total state government revenue since statehood
  • 33% of Alaska jobs (direct and indirect)
  • 50% of the overall economy when the spending of state revenues from oil production is considered


Forestry is beginning to make a comeback:

  • 700 direct jobs supported (January-September)
  • 105 federal jobs supported last year
  • 153 million board feet harvested last year in Alaska


Fisheries are wild, sustainable, and globally important:

  • 63,000 direct seasonal and full-time jobs
  • 5.8 billion pounds of seafood was landed in Alaska in 2013
  • $1.9 billion in ex-vessel value; $3.3 billion in sales to export markets
  • $200 million in revenue for state and local governments
  • $1.4 billion sportfishing industry provides 16,000 jobs, $545 million in income, and $125 million in state and local taxes


Tourism supports thousands of businesses:

  • 39,000 direct and indirect jobs
  • ~2 million visitors per year
  • 86% travel in summer
  • 50% arrive by cruise ship, 46% by air
  • $1.8 billion spent during year ending September 2014


Something else not to be missed—free airline tickets! At press time, no one had claimed the Top 49ers awards luncheon door prizes, which include two roundtrip tickets on Ravn Alaska, among other prizes. The winning entry numbers were on the USB cards given out as swag at the luncheon; you need to plug in the drive, open the JPG file, and find the entry number. Go online to akbizmag.com/Top49erPrize and see what you’ve won, then contact us to redeem. One more thing you’re not going to want to miss is the November issue of Alaska Business Monthly. We’ve put together another really great magazine. Enjoy!


This article first appeared in the November 2015 print edition of Alaska Business Monthly.  

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