Mineral Assessment Program Studies

The BLM’s mineral assessment program includes regional “mining district” studies. These studies determine the type, amount and distribution of mineral deposits, and use the data to make possible resource estimates. The studies involve locating, sampling, surveying and mapping historic mines, prospects and occurrences, and followup on newly discovered mineral deposits.


 Recent Mining District Studies:  

  • Delta River: The BLM-Alaska conducted mineral investigations in the 2.9-million-acre Delta River Mining District that extends across the eastern Alaska Range from about Delta Junction on the north, to Paxson on the south. It is accessible via the Richardson, Denali and Alaska highways. The investigations included mineral occurrence surveying, mapping and sampling; airborne and ground-based geophysics; stream sediment geochemistry; and economic, engineering and environmental analysis. The BLM produced a final technical report on the Delta River district mineral assessment study TR 57 (plate 1 and plate 2) in 2007.
  • Bristol Bay: The Bristol Bay district mineral assessment study began in 2005 and contains the single largest group of state claims, specifically those of the Pebble Copper property. It includes 8.2% of active state mining claims, but only 0.02% of active federal mining claims. Although about 45% of the land is federal, only 6% of the land is BLM-managed and almost no MILS or active claims are situated on the BLM land. The other federal lands in the district are managed by the F&WS (15%) and the NPS (23%).  Open file report
  • Admiralty: The Admiralty district mineral assessment study began in 2006 and contains the most active federal claims of any unstudied district in Alaska (12.9%). It has about 0.2% of the state claims. Eighty percent of the district is made up of federal lands; much of it is included within the Admiralty National Monument. About 14% of the district is native land, less than 1% state, and about 5% private.
  • Mineral Assessment of the Aniak Mining District Study  The Aniak Mining District study area encompasses approximately 29.6 million acres in southwestern Alaska and comprises parts of the adjacent Anvik, Iditarod, Innoko, Marshall, and McGrath mining districts. The area contains nearly 450 mineral sites including those located in the historic mining areas of Iditarod-Flat, Nyac, Donlin Creek, Candle Creek, Ganes Creek, Moore Creek, Nixon Fork, Marvel Creek, Taylor Creek and the Red Devil District. 

    Placer gold has been the main commodity produced from the area since 1909. Placer production totals nearly 2.6 million ounces of gold, along with minor amounts of mercury, tungsten, and platinum. Lode production totals nearly 197,000 ounces gold and over 35,000 76-pound flasks of mercury and byproduct antimony between 1902 and 1967. Other commodities prospected in the region include barite, copper, lead, molybdenum, silver, tin, tungsten, uranium, and zinc.