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First and foremost the Alaska Business team sends out a big thank you to our readers. Your positive feedback on the new design and Premium Digital Edition have made all the hard work more than worth it—so, thank you! Thank you for reading, for taking the time to comment, and for continuing to support our efforts to highlight the individuals, organizations, and companies that shape the Alaska economy.
Now, on to business. It’s mining month at Alaska Business—a month in which we place a spotlight on one of the state’s cornerstone industries.
Even with just six producing mines in the state (at the moment), the mining industry is a major economic driver in Alaska. In 2017 estimated total mining industry employment in Alaska averaged about 4,500 jobs and $404 million in annual wages, according to an early 2018 report prepared for Alaska Miners Association by McDowell Group.
Along with jobs, safe and responsible mining brings in revenue. A lot of revenue. In 2016 the industry generated an estimated $2.5 billion in total gross revenue and paid the state $109 million Fiscal Year 2017(SFY2017). But the industry’s contributions don’t end at taxes; also in SFY2017 the Alaska Railroad Corporation received about $21 million from mining-related activities; the Permanent Fund received more than $5 million; the Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority was paid $25 million for the use of the DeLong Mountain Transportation System and the Skagway Ore Terminal; and mining activities paid the Alaska Mental Health Trust close to $3 million during that time period, according to the report.
And all Alaska Native Corporations benefit from mining activity through shareholder hiring programs, 7(i) ($250 million in 2017) and 7(j) royalty sharing payments, and through partnerships, such as those between Red Dog Operations and NANA Regional Corporation, Trilogy Metals and NANA, and Donlin Gold, Calista Corporation, and The Kuskokwim Corporation, to name a few.
With the help of Curt Freeman, president of Avalon Development Corporation, this issue provides an overview of all major mining activities in Alaska including detailed production and throughput results. In addition, we discuss Donlin Gold’s permit progression and offer up a look at mining and… explosives! On our cover this month is Trilogy Metals President and CEO Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, who graciously agreed to a photo shoot at the Dena’ina Center in between speaking engagements and a flight a to Fairbanks… thank you Rick, you never broke a sweat. Inside, we delve into Trilogy Metals’ progress at its Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects located near the Red Dog Mine in the Ambler Mining District.
And don’t forget to check out our latest feature, Off the Cuff, in which we get to know Visit Anchorage’s President and CEO Julie Saupe and her buddy Trinity a little better.
We’re excited to present another a great issue this blustery November. So curl up next to a crackling fireplace with your favorite drink and enjoy!
—Kathryn Mackenzie, Managing Editor, Alaska Business