In Alaska there are six actively producing mines, two projects in permitting, and an additional four advanced exploration projects in play in 2018. According to a March 2018
report compiled by the McDowell Group, the
total value of mineral exports accounted for
35 percent of Alaska’s total exports in 2016 at
a value of $1.5 billion. The report also indicates
that there was $110 million spent on exploration
and $213 million spent on mine construction
and other capital investment in 2017 alone.
More than stimulating the Alaska
economy through an influx of cash, the
mining industry provides much needed
jobs to Alaskans living in rural communities.
For example, more than 50 percent of the 550
year-round jobs at Red Dog Mine are filled by
NANA shareholders. And NANA is not the
only Alaska Native corporation to take ad-
vantage of such partnership opportunities.
Iliamna Development Corporation, Calista
Corporation, and the Kuskokwim Corporation
have all worked to develop businesses that serve
the mining sector.
While their names aren’t always as well
known as the mine owners and operators, there
are many companies that provide vital services
to keep the mining industry moving forward.
and Data Collection
Founded twenty-six years ago, Alaska Earth
Sciences (AES) provides consulting expertise
to promote, manage, and support mineral re-
source and exploration development in Alaska.
Through a suite of service offerings including
geotechnical engineering, logistics, geographic
information services (GIS), permitting assis-
tance, and equipment rental, AES can provide
the background services that enable successful,
efficient, and cost-effective mining.
“Oftentimes a client will want to have
preliminary research conducted and data
collected in order to justify the expense of
the added permitting and regulations associ-
ated with drilling and mining,” says Michelle
Johnson, chief operating officer for AES.
AES has a team of four geologists who work
in the field to conduct regional scale mapping
and rock sampling. The team also makes geologic observations and collects soil samples
that are sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Once analyzed, the information is compiled
into a rudimentary geological map for AES’s
clients. This service is integral to the planning process for entities interested in mining
in Alaska because it gives a rough estimate of
the viability of producing an active mine. If
the company chooses to move forward, AES
will then return to the site to collect more
samples at a decreased spacing and employ
their specialized geophysical tools to craft a
“There is a whole array of tools we can use,
and we typically work with a geophysical
“Oftentimes a client will want
to have preliminary research
conducted and data collected
in order to justify the expense
of the added permitting and
regulations associated with
drilling and mining.”
Chief Operating Officer, Alaska Earth Sciences