As the Juneau Empire’s Russell Stigall reports, the State of Alaska’s efforts to map Alaska’s “mineral potential from the land and air” are in full swing.
Thanks to the state’s – and particularly Southeast Alaska’s – rich geology, state geologists, including Bob Swenson, state geologist and director of the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys for the U.S. Department of Natural Resources, see opportunities for production of many of the minerals for which the United States is 100 percent import dependent. That assessment comes in spite of the fact that only roughly “an eighth of the 40 million acres deemed as having a high potential of deposits” have been mapped at this point.
The mapping efforts are in line with the State’s recently embraced five-pronged mineral resource strategy, which includes the following focal points:
- Undertaking a statewide assessment of strategic minerals;
- Providing incentives to develop known or highly-likely mineral occurrences;
- Improving permitting to expedite responsible projects;
- Strengthening partnerships and cooperation with other government entities, Alaska Native corporations and potential developers;
- Attracting new investment and developing new markets for Alaska’s mineral resources.
At a time when the rest of the world is off to the races when it comes to securing access to critical minerals, other states, and in fact federal policy makers, would be well-advised to take a cue from Alaska’s playbook – both from an economic and national security perspective.