Two Alaska mining projects may begin production ahead of schedule thanks to priority permits granted by the U.S. Forest Service. As reported by the website ResourcefulEarth.org, the agency approved exploratory drilling permits for Ucore Rare Metals Inc.’s Bokan Mountain site in Southeast Alaska, which is expected to develop rare earths as well as potentially high grade uranium, and another mining prospect on Woewodski Island. At a time when China’s stranglehold on rare earths has costs for downstream industries soaring, this is a welcome development we at American Resources hope to see replicated for other mining projects. Additional concerns, however, remain with the structural problem of a rigid permitting process as it continues to hurt the Alaska’s (and the country’s) economic and strategic resource future. We will examine the bureaucratic regime that has given the U.S. the dubious honor of being tied with Papua New Guinea for the longest approval process for mining permits among the top 25 mining countries in the world in a forthcoming policy paper. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter so you get to read it first.