News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Bishop
For Immediate Release: April 30, 2020

Reforms to Alaska’s Mining Policies Signed into Law

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JUNEAU – On Wednesday, a bill reforming Alaska’s mining policies was signed into law by Governor Mike Dunleavy.

“I am thankful to Governor Dunleavy for signing into law these important reforms that will provide certainty for Alaska’s miners,” said Senator Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, the bill’s sponsor. “No longer will they have to live with uncertainty that their livelihoods will be taken away without due process. This law provides clear guidelines on how a miner can cure an honest clerical mistake on their statement of facts.” 

As the nation prepares for the economy of tomorrow – which will feature integrated electrical grids, electric cars, smart phones, and smart homes – Americans will become increasingly reliant on rare earth elements and critical minerals.

“Mining is Alaska’s past, present, and future,” said Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, a co-sponsor of the bill. “The raw materials are right here, and they present a tremendous opportunity for our state’s economy and nation’s security.”

The legislation supports efforts led by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski to reduce U.S. dependence on rare earth elements from China.

“The world needs elements for a wide array of important strategic uses, and Alaska can meet that need,” said Senator John Coghill, R-North Pole, a co-sponsor of the bill. “This law provides needed clarity to this important industry.”

Senate Bill 155 addresses several problems that have plagued Alaska miners over the years. Ideas for the bill’s improvements came from individual miners, the Alaska Miners Association’s (AMA) working group, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).   

The legislation:

  • Clarifies qualifications for exploration and mining rights;
  • Improves the legal process for miners;
  • Makes it easier to locate interest in Alaska lands;
  • Allows miners to correct mineral interest locations;
  • Establishes a better procedure for statements of annual labor;
  • Outlines a “due process” procedure for declaring mining claims invalid; and
  • Requires express permission from unpatented federal mining claim holders on state selected lands.

For more information, contact Senate Majority Counsel Chad Hutchison at (907) 465-3803.

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