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From The Editor’s Desk

Is Alaska Mining Part of a Boom and Bust Cycle?

A recent anti-Pebble article in the April issue of Alaska Coast caught my eye. One of the pull quotes says “Mining, as important as it is, is part of a boom and bust cycle, whereas fishing and tourism are sustainable in the long-term.”

I take exception to that statement. It may have once been true, but it certainly isn’t now.

Usibelli Coal mine has been in operation since 1943. Three generations of the family have worked at the mine. That’s not boom and bust.

Many Alaskan placer miners have been operating most of their working lives and, in many cases, the next generation is now mining. That’s not boom and bust.

Red Dog Mine has been in operation since 1989. Greens Creek Mine produced its first concentrate in 1989. Fort Knox has been producing gold since December 1996. Pogo Mine has been in production since 2006. Each of these mines has replaced its original reserves and will be in production longer than originally expected. I don’t think that’s boom and bust.

Kensington is now approaching four years of operation. I fully expect, that it will be in production longer than it’s initial 12.5 year life.

Mining offers long-term, good paying jobs that most part-time fishing and tourism jobs don’t offer.

Tell me again that fishing and tourism are sustainable when people from outside don’t have more than a minimum wage job and can’t afford to buy fish or travel to Alaska.

Fishing, tourism, and yes, mining, all have their ups and downs because of economic factors beyond their control, but they persevere.

I have worked in mining related businesses all of my 40-year working career, as have many of my friends. I would say that mining is a sustainable industry.

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