Project Report:
Mining Tax & Royalty Reform in Alaska: Capturing the True Costs of Hard Rock Mining in Alaska
- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


Cook Inletkeeper produced a new report – “The Role of Metal Mining in the Present & Future Alaska Economy” by the economic firm Power Consulting Inc. in March 2021 detailing Alaska’s mining, royalty and bonding structure, with an additional analysis on the socioeconomic and natural resource costs imposed by hard rock mining. The report analyzes 1) the quantifiable effects of mining taxes, royalties and other mining revenues on the State of Alaska and local economies; and 2) in the various environmental and socioeconomic impacts that accrue to local communities near mining operations.


Alaska has long-relied on oil and gas revenues to support state and local government. As oil and gas production wanes and prices remain low, however, industry revenues are falling far short of government expenses. As a result, Alaska is staring down the barrel of a fiscal nightmare, with draconian cuts soon-expected to education, senior services, transportation and more. Now, with several new large mines on the horizon - and with the specter of other nation’s undermining our national security by hording rare earth metals - Alaska mining executives and trade groups are touting their industry as the next fiscal savior for the state, and an important metals supplier for the transition to a green energy economy.

Unfortunately, Alaska’s “take” from the mining industry is relatively low when compared to other industries and other states. Equally concerning, the mining industry’s footprint – on Alaska’s communities, fisheries and landscapes – is profound. Therefore, mining’s relatively low contribution to state revenues, combined with its relatively high socioeconomic and environmental costs, make it a less than ideal industry to anchor Alaska economic future. Inletkeeper’s economic report helps pull back the curtain on the mining industry’s low relative contributions to the state’s economy, and relatively high costs to communities and the environment.


This project satisfied the Foundation’s purposes by:

• Addressing the causes of economic imbalances by researching the “hidden” externalized costs of hard rock mining on Alaska’s people and natural resources;
• Investigating causes tending to destroy or impair the free-enterprise system by analyzing Alaska’s mining tax, royalty and bonding structure as it relates to existing and proposed hard rock mines in Alaska;
• Disseminating information on the results and findings of the new report with an eye toward capturing and elevating the true costs of hard rock mining operations on local economies, communities and environments.


The primary scope of this project is the State of Alaska, but the analysis found in the economic report is useful across other mining jurisdictions in the United States. While Alaska possesses the lion’s share of undeveloped metals resources in the United States, its regulatory regime – and the economic and environmental implications that flow from it – are similar to other western states. As a result, this project took a two-tiered approach. First, it looked at mining revenues, jobs, taxes and bonding levels specific to the State of Alaska. Second, it relied on examples from mining districts elsewhere to show the externalities attendant to hard rock mining, and discussed how Alaska is not immune from similar impacts. Importantly, Alaska has not changed its primary mining tax since before statehood in 1959. Because national and international demand for metals in the coming transition to a green economy will invariably put a disproportionate pressure on Alaska, this project will support ongoing efforts in Alaska to embrace a modern tax regime that better reflects a free market system.

Information Dissemination

Inletkeeper employed a multi-tiered communications strategy to disseminate the report, with a press release and follow-up calls to print, radio and TV outlets, and social media outreach on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It also created a blog on the Inletkeeper website discussing the report, sent the report and accompanying Executive Summary to Alaska’s congressional delegation, and disseminated it to all members of the Alaska Legislature.

Project Link

Amount Approved
$30,000.00 on 10/16/2020 (Check sent: 10/29/2020)

Fort Know Mine, Alaska
Fort Know Mine, Alaska
The Role of Metal Mining in the Present & Future Alaska Economy (PDF)

3734 Ben Walters Lane
Homer, AK 99603

(907) 235-4068 ext 21
(907) 235-4069 (fax)


Sue Mauger
Science & Executive Director, Cook Inletkeeper

Posted 10/1/2020 7:46 PM
Updated   7/3/2023 4:03 PM

  • Nonprofit

Fort Know Mine, Alaska
Fort Know Mine, Alaska

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