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Mineral Assessment Program Overview

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Alaska mineral assessment program was terminated in 2007 after nearly 11 years of field investigations. Reports generated by this program and its predecessor through the U.S. Bureau of Mines, are being maintained by the BLM although some of the data gathered during the studies are being transferred to other government agencies for safekeeping and to maintain public access. This information includes published and in-house reports, unpublished mineral occurrence data, mine production records, and sample location data.

Section 1010(a) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) directed the Secretary of the Interior to assess the oil, gas, and other mineral potential on all public lands in the State of Alaska in order to expand the data base with respect to the mineral potential of such lands.  The BLM conducted these mineral assessments under a long term plan, developed with stakeholder input, which determined the order of priority.  The long-term plan was revised to include consideration of the BLM Alaska's schedule for completing Resource Management Plans/Environmental Impact Statements.

Mineral assessments were conducted by mining district.  There are 72 mining districts in Alaska. In 1996, the BLM assumed responsibility from the U.S. Bureau of Mines (BOM) for conducting assessments of mineral resources on Federal land in Alaska. The BOM had completed assessments of nine mining districts.  The BLM, with stakeholder input, designated 21 of the remaining 63 as high priority.  The BLM has completed assessments of eight of those mining districts, leaving a total of 13 remaining high priority mining districts that require assessments under the act.  In FY05, the BLM initiated work on three more assessments, including the South NPR-A. 

The BLM Alaska is currently in various stages of several Resource Management Plans/Environment Impact Statements (RMPs). Alaska Mineral Assessment data is being used to complete Mineral Potential Reports and Reasonable Foreseeable Development Scenarios for these RMPs.  Both are critical parts of the RMPs, and are used to assist land planners in developing alternative land-use decisions.