Alaska mine production tops $4.5 billion – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – February 6, 2023)

More gold, strong zinc prices helped push value higher; critical minerals could add a boost moving forward.

Alaska mines produced approximately $4.51 billion worth of nonfuel minerals last year, a 16% increase over the $3.89 billion in 2021, and an impressive 42.7% jump over the $3.16 billion of mined products during 2020, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Mineral Commodity Summaries 2023 report.

The rise in Alaska mine production value is largely due to increased zinc and gold production, along with strong zinc prices during 2022.

According to early estimates by the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, Alaska mines produced roughly 1.33 billion pounds of zinc, 215 million lb of lead, 690,000 ounces of gold, and 15.8 million oz silver during 2022. This is about a 6% increase for zinc, a 15% drop for lead, a 10% rise for gold, and a 4% increase for silver when compared to 2021.

The single largest boost to Alaska mine production values for 2022, however, came from the approximately $1.57/lb average selling price for the zinc being shipped from Teck Resources Ltd.’s Red Dog Mine in Northwest Alaska and Hecla Mining Company’s Greens Creek Mine on the state’s Southeast Panhandle.

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