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Getting A Job At A Mine In Alaska

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I received the following email:

"My name is *********** , a logger from ***********. I'm wanting to move to Alaska and start a new life with my family. I don't have much of anything. I'm probably one of the hardest workers you will ever meet and I'm honest. I'm looking for a chance at working a claim and learning what there is to learn. I have experience in running a rock crusher - now that was a fun, six years never a dull moment! Welding, mechanic diesel and gas, can build you a house start to finish, my chain saw sleeps in my bed room next to my splitting mall. How do I get a chance in working a mine and owning one?"

I have received lots of requests similar to this over the years. Back in the 1980's we literally had people show up at my mining shop with the family in a vehicle, possessions strapped on top, come to Alaska to strike it rich. Here is a bunch of information. I hope it helps - good luck!

According to the October 2014 Economic Impacts of Placer Mining in Alaska:

  • There were 646 placer mines permitted by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2013.
  • DNR estimated 47 percent of permits (295) placer operations were mined in 2013.
  • In 2013, there were approximately 1,200 direct, mostly seasonal, jobs in Alaska’s placer mine industry.
  • On average, each placer mine had four workers. However, approximately 27 percent of placer mines were run by one person and there are a few significant larger operations (50+ workers).
  • Of the 1,200 workers, approximately 73 percent (880 workers) live in Alaska. Of those Alaska residents, approximately half live in Anchorage/Mat-Su Borough (26 percent) or Fairbanks (26 percent). The remaining half (48 percent) live in communities elsewhere in Alaska.
  • Total direct income, including wages, shares of production, and owner’s profits, are estimated at $40 million for 2013.
  • For miners receiving compensation, 56 percent were paid a wage, while the remaining 44 percent were compensated with a share of gold production.

That was 2013 but it gives you some basic figures. Maybe just over 1,000 seasonal jobs, and not all of them from people living in the state. Being located there would help though.

Many of these jobs go to family members or long time, trusted employees, so there are few openings on a yearly basis. Still, a person has a shot at it. So how to go about it?

All I can offer is what I would do if I did not know anybody. The easiest place to start would be to contact the Alaska Miners Association at http://alaskaminers.org/contact-us/ and purchase their latest Service Directory. I am not sure what it costs now but it used to be $20 (or included with membership). It includes a listing of all the businesses that supply and service miners in Alaska; information on land status, permitting, agency lists, State mining law, and the membership list of the AMA, Alaska's most influential mining organization. Over 1000 miners and mining related organizations are listed with contact information. The key is the membership list with names and contact information. That gives you a place to start with either phone calls or letters. Most actual mining operations in Alaska are members of the AMA.

If you are interested in employment at a lode mine, the major mines information is also in the Service Directory.

More information can be gleaned from the latest state report - Alaska's Mineral industry 2015. Keep an eye out for a 2016 report soon. According to the report "Total mineral industry employment in 2015 is estimated at 2,901 full-time-equivalent jobs" Here is the chart from the report:


Note this chart shows less than half the number of placer employment as the figures quoted in the 2013 report and only 120 in 2015. This probably reflects a difference in actual wage and salary type workers versus one person operations or family members and people working for a share of the take. Still, it can be seen overall numbers dropped quite a bit the last few years.

Also from the report, here is a map of major mining and exploration projects in Alaska. You can read about these in detail in the report, and a little use of Google can give you employment contact information for each company, job openings, etc. Start at the AMA Links Page


Check out the Mining and Petroleum Training Service

For opportunities in mining all over see Mining Career Opportunities at InfoMine http://www.infomine.com/careers/


• Recording Fees | http://dnr.alaska.gov/ssd/recoff/fees_RO.cfm 
• Public Information Center | http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/pic/
• State Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Documents Search | http://dnr.alaska.gov/ssd/recoff/
Division of Mining, Land & Water
• Mining Applications and Forms | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/forms/
• Fact Sheets | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/
• Annual Placer Mining Application (APMA) 2015 | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/forms/14apma/
• Annual Rental | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/mine_fs/annualre.pdf
• Leasing State Land | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/land_fs/lease_land.pdf
• Land Lease & Contract Payment Information | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/land_fs/lease_contract_payment_info.pdf
• Production Royalty | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/mine_fs/producti.pdf
• DNR Production Royalty Form | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/forms/mining/royalty_fm.pdf
• Exploration Incentive Credit Program | http://dnr.alaska.gov/mlw/factsht/mine_fs/explore.pdf
Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys
• Publications On-Line | http://dggs.alaska.gov/publications/
• Interactive Maps | http://maps.dggs.alaska.gov/
• Geologic Maps of Alaska: Online Map Search Tool | http://maps.dggs.alaska.gov/mapindex/
• Unpublished Geology-Related Data (Alaska Geologic Data Index) | http://maps.dggs.alaska.gov/agdi/
• Geologic Materials Center | http://dggs.alaska.gov/gmc/
• Geochemical Sample Analysis Search (WebGeochem) | http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/webgeochem/
• Minerals Report Questionnaire | http://www.dggs.alaska.gov/minerals_questionnaire
Alaska’s Minerals Data & Information Rescue in Alaska (MDIRA) Project Websites
• MDIRA Portal Home Page | http://akgeology.info/
• Alaska Mining Claims Mapper | http://akmining.info/
• Land Records Web Application | http://dnr.alaska.gov/Landrecords/
• State Recorder’s Office Search | http://dnr.alaska.gov/ssd/recoff/searchRO.cfm
• Alaska Resource Data Files | http://ardf.wr.usgs.gov/
• USGS Alaska Geochemical Database (NURE, RASS, PLUTO…) | http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/637/
• Guide to Alaska Geologic and Mineral Information | http://doi.org/10.14509/3318
• Alaska State Geo-Spatial Data Clearinghouse | http://www.asgdc.state.ak.us/
• Minerals Information | https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/ded/dev/mineralsdevelopment
• Community and Regional Information | https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/dcra/ResearchAnalysis
• Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) | http://www.aidea.org
• AIDEA Supports Mining | www.aidea.org/Programs/ProjectDevelopment/30YearsofMiningSupport.aspx
• Mining License Tax | http://www.tax.alaska.gov/programs/programs/index.aspx?60610
• Motor Fuel Tax Claim for Refund | http://www.tax.alaska.gov//programs/programs/forms/index.aspx?60210
• Alaska Motor Fuel Tax Instructions | http://www.tax.alaska.gov/programs/documentviewer/viewer.aspx?5086f

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WOW..... Great job Steve. A valuable resource for anyone looking to go this direction.

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The nice thing with the forum is I can put extra effort into deluxe answers just once. An email response would get far less effort on my part. All future email inquiries will now get pointed here, a time saver for me in the long run. And the original post can be added to or modified with time to improve it. Forum visitors also benefit from the answer. All big advantages for me personally.

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  • 3 years later...

that is why this place is called a "Magazine".

thanks for all the effort you always put into this site, Steve.


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2 hours ago, Mike Hillis said:

that is why this place is called a "Magazine".

thanks for all the effort you always put into this site, Steve.


Thank you Mike, I appreciate that.

I need to do a better job at keeping up with it, but have created an index to these kind of deluxe forum posts here

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