Alaska Governor Sean Parnell’s proposed budget for 2013 includes $2.7 million to obtain more data about Alaska’s rare earth elements and strategic minerals.
Parnell previously proposed $28.5 million in funds for Alaska’s Road to Resources Initiative, which would “open access to the Ambler Mining District; to open up mining lands in a route to Tanana; and to fund work on the Klondike Industrial Use Highway outset of Skagway, to name a few.”
“This budget is also aimed at streamlining the state’s permitting processes,” said Parnell. “With $3.3 million in new dollars, we intend to provide timely decision making for mining, timber, public assess, land sales and transfers, and other resource development applications.” The funds will be used to further integrate state permitting with federal processes, and other means of permitting reform.
Noting that U.S. Geological Survey “topographic maps of Alaska are more than 50 years old, inaccurate, and do not meet national mapping standards,” Parnell has proposed funding a Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative.
“Funding Roads to Resources; more timely permits; a rare earth assessment; and statewide digital mapping-it's all about jobs and creating new opportunities for independent, hard-working Alaskans to move forward,” said the governor in a press release.
“The State of Alaska continues to take an active role in the development of its enormous rare earth and critical minerals potential,” said Ucore chief executive officer Jim McKenzie in a news release.
Ucore is working to develop Bokan Mountain, in southeast Alaska that includes the former high grade Ross Adams Mine, which is Alaska's only prior producing uranium mine. Ucore says Bokan Mountain is the most significant heavy rare earths deposit in the United States, including dysprosium, terbium and yttrium.
“The allocation of substantial funding specifically targeting rare earth and strategic resource development at Bokan Mountain and across the state is a tremendous advantage for a very young industry with immense upside potential for employing Alaskans and adding to the state’s export revenue,” McKenzie observed.