August 06, 2003
"This is an important step for the mining industry in Alaska, particularly for the numerous placer miners in areas like the Forty-Mile, the Koyukuk and around Nome," Governor Frank H. Murkowski said. "We want to make sure appropriate reclamation takes place, and allowing these miners access to the bonding pool will help make that happen."
Securing financial assurance for businesses has become more difficult since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and business scandals of recent years, both of which events had a significant impact on the surety industry. Even before 9/11, revisions to federal regulations had created a situation in which miners on federal claims could no longer participate in the statewide bonding pool, and they were challenged to provide the cost of bonding individually. Bonding is mandatory for all mine operators with more than five acres of disturbance.
The agreement signed today is the result of several months of cooperative efforts between BLM, DNR and the Alaska Miners Association, and provides small miners an affordable option to obtain reclamation bonding. Miners are still liable for the total cost of reclaiming their mined areas; however the agreement allows them to share the cost and risks of bonding with other placer miners operating on state and private lands, as well as federal lands.
Murkowski said he was pleased
with the cooperative efforts that led to the signing of the agreement.
"Small placer mines continue to be an important part of
Alaska's rural economy and lifestyle in many remote regions of
the state," he said. "This is the only agreement of
its type approved by the Department of Interior solicitor's office
in Washington, and is an example of the State and federal agencies
working together to foster the responsible development of Alaska's
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