Alaska’s Mining Potential

This is some text inside of a div block.

Alaska Holds the Key to a Sustainable World

As we transition to renewable energy—hydro, wind, and solar—Alaska's rich minerals and metals are indispensable.

  • Respected Globally: Alaska has pioneered responsible resource management.
  • Robust Regulatory System: A strong framework ensures mining is done responsibly and sustainably.
  • Advanced Mining Technology: Utilizing cutting-edge techniques for minimal environmental impact.
  • Committed to Environmental Stewardship: Ensuring Alaska's nature is preserved for future generations.
  • Invested in Communities: Working together to ensure local benefits.
Alaska metals are at the heart of sustainable technology, powering our transition to a greener future. Infographic courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

Empowering Alaska’s Economy

Alaska's mining sector isn't just an industry; it's a driving force for local economies and communities.

  • Community Prosperity: Mining's role as a key employer and economic force is undeniable. So is the importance of collaborative relationships with community stakeholders from the very beginning of a project all the way through reclamation and closure.
  • Economic Catalyst: In 2022, the mining industry's $1 billion expenditure boosted about 450 local businesses and supported over 11,400 jobs, with a $1 billion wage impact.
"Alaska's founders knew responsible resource development was key to a secure and prosperous state, and our experience with True North shows that they were right. The developers leased state land, produced a valuable commodity to serve global markets, employed Alaskans, and paid state taxes and royalties. When they were done, they remediated the effects of their work and returned the land to the state for its next use. The system works." -Alaska DNR Commissioner Corri Feige, SOA DNR Joint Press Release: October 27, 2020

Global Mineral Leadership

  • Strategic Importance: These reserves are vital for technologies, renewable energy, and national security, making Alaska a global leader in mineral resources.
  • Significant Reserves: Alaska holds 3% of the world's zinc, and 3.5% of its gold, plus notable quantities of silver, lead, and copper.

Championing Sustainable Mining Practices

  • Ecological Integrity: Alaska sets the standard for responsible mining, balancing economic growth with environmental preservation.
  • Benchmark for Responsible Extraction: Sustainable practices and commitment to land restoration showcase Alaska as a leader in ethical mining.
Alaska’s mining industry has rich potential and promise as a sector crafting a sustainable, secure, and prosperous future for all.

Envisioning a Prosperous Future

  • Significant Expansion: With more than $8.1 billion invested since 1982, Alaska's mining industry is poised for substantial growth, promising increased exports, tax revenue, and job creation.
  • Sustainable Vision: This growth represents a commitment to a future where economic prosperity and environmental responsibility coexist.


  • Critical Mineral Reserves: Rich in essential minerals like graphite, cobalt, barite, and rare earth elements (REEs) (McKinley Research Group, May 2022).
  • Global Mining Rankings: Holds significant positions in global reserves, including 3% of zinc (8th), and 3.5% of gold (10th), along with substantial silver, lead, and copper reserves (McKinley Research Group, May 2022).
  • Demand: More than 3 billion tons of minerals and metals will be needed to deploy wind, solar, geothermal, and energy storage technologies required for achieving a below 2°C global warming future, increasing demand for materials such as graphite, lithium, and cobalt by nearly 500% by 2050 (World Bank Group)
  • Alaska's Abundance: Copper, cobalt, gallium, germanium, graphite, nickel, platinum group metals, rare earth elements, silver, zinc and other energy metals found across the state could position Alaska as a major player in the world's energy transition. (Mining News North)
  • The industry has the potential to double in size over the next 20 years, enhancing exports, revenue, and job creation (Loeffler, Watson provide “If, then…” look at Alaska mining industry).
  • There are more than 70 known occurrences of rare-earth elements throughout Alaska. (Department of Natural Resources)
  • Alaska’s vast mineral resources may help decrease national reliance on imports while protecting the Earth under some of the most stringent environmental laws in the world. (Bureau of Land Management)
  • There were 50 significant exploration projects in Alaska, of which seven are advanced exploration projects, including Bokan Mountain (rare earth elements), Golden Summit (gold), Graphite Creek (graphite), Livengood (gold), Niblack (copper, gold, zinc, and silver), Palmer (copper, zinc, gold, and silver), and Upper Kobuk Minerals Project (Arctic and Bornite) (copper, zinc, gold, and silver) projects. (McKinley Research)
  • Graphite Creek in Northwest Alaska could supply the entire nation’s graphite needs for decades. (Bureau of Land Management)


Can You Provide Examples of How Alaska Balances Mining With Environmental Conservation?

Alaska balances mining with environmental conservation through its strict adherence to environmental regulations and its commitment to sustainable practices. Examples include the use of advanced water treatment facilities to protect waterways and proactive measures to preserve local wildlife and their habitats. Additionally, mining companies are required to reclaim the land, restoring mined areas to their natural state

How Does the Mining Sector Support Alaska’s Local Communities?

The mining sector supports local communities in Alaska through direct employment, substantial investments in local businesses, and contributions to community development. For instance, in 2022, the industry spent $1 billion with local vendors and donated $4.5 million to approximately 280 non-profit organizations, demonstrating its commitment to local community growth and welfare.

How Significant Is the Economic Impact of Alaska's Abundant Minerals?

The economic impact of Alaska's abundant minerals is substantial. In 2022, the mining sector contributed $1 billion in wages statewide, supporting about 11,400 jobs. This level of economic activity not only provides livelihoods for thousands of Alaskans but also bolsters the overall state economy through high-paying jobs and substantial tax revenues.

What Future Growth Is Expected in Alaska's Mining Industry?

Future growth in Alaska's mining industry could be significant. With more than $8.1 billion invested since 1982 and a continuous focus on exploration and development, the industry is poised to expand. Bringing even one large project into production would significantly enhance mining's contribution to the state and national economies.

What Makes Alaska's Mining Industry Diverse?

It produces minerals essential to many industries, from precious metals like gold and silver to industrial metals like zinc and lead. The industry is also actively exploring and developing projects to produce its rich deposits of critical minerals like copper, graphite, and cobalt which are essential in high-tech and green technologies. This range makes Alaska’s mining sector versatile and vital for different economic sectors.

What Specific Practices Make Alaska's Mining Sustainable?

Alaska’s commitment to sustainable mining is evident in its rigorous regulatory framework, which includes dozens of permits from multiple federal and state agencies. This ensures extensive public participation and environmental stewardship. Additionally, Alaska prioritizes modern mining techniques that minimize ecological impact and focus on land restoration after mining operations. (See AKDNR: Permitting Large Mine Projects in Alaska).

Why Are Alaska's Minerals Essential for the U.S.?

Alaska's minerals are essential for the U.S. because they are critical to national security, technological advancement, and the renewable energy transition. Alaska could develop its rich deposits of graphite, cobalt, copper, and rare earth elements which are key in manufacturing defense equipment, electronic devices, and clean energy technologies. This would reduce reliance on foreign imports, enhancing national strategic autonomy.

What type of added value does mining bring to a community?

While approaches differ slightly by mining group, the goal is to enable stakeholders to participate in meaningful ways in matters that affect them, and to ensure that their feedback and perceptions are taken into consideration. Comprehensive stakeholder engagement enhances understanding. When companies engage with local governments, communities, and civic institutions, the benefits can better translate into sustainable, long-term improvements that last after the mine closes.

How do mining companies consider local input?

When it comes to local communities, everything begins with direct stakeholder interaction to build trustful relationships based on sincerity, reliability, clarity, and personal contact aimed at delivering productive outcomes. Active outreach is regularly conducted to understand the views, needs, and concerns of stakeholders while being transparent about operations and the impacts that they cause. From formal dialogue tables to one-on-one conversations, companies are open to a variety of approaches to engage frequently with stakeholders.