Alaska Attorney General Daniel S. Sullivan gives an account of the state of the Parnell Administration’s five-part strategy to support the mining industry in a column for Petroleum News. This strategy, which was unveiled at the September 2011 Strategic and Critical Minerals Summit, comprises the following components:
- 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.
Since September 2011, the Alaska Legislature and Administration have cooperated to provide $3.2 million for the strategic minerals assessment, an update on which can be found here. Meanwhile the “Roads to Resources” program, to which $28.5 million were allocated this year, seeks to provide incentives for the private sector “to share in the cost of developing new roads and providing access to the state’s natural resources.”
On the permitting front, efforts to streamline the process are underway, with the Department of Natural Resources having been able to slash backlogs by more than one third. Collaborative efforts with USGS and Alaska Native corporations on the strategic minerals assessment constitute progress on the fourth component of the Parnell Administration’s strategy, while an upcoming second strategic minerals summit, the 2nd Annual Governor’s Strategic & Critical Minerals Summit, is intended to be “a critical tool in our overall effort to promote Alaska’s mineral resources.” American Resources Principal Dan McGroarty will also attend as a speaker, where he will present on national security and critical metals.
Unfortunately, while the Parnell Administration is making strides towards implementing an updated and comprehensive mineral resource strategy for Alaska – reportedly all as part of an overall fiscally conservative budget approach – we’re still nowhere near even the formulation of such a strategy at the national level.