This week’s Natural Resource Related highlights and updates From the Alaska Miners Association:

Mineral tenure legislation passes the Legislature!!  SB155, Exploration & Mining Rights, passed the Legislature this week and is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature. This is BIG!  Please see our press release at http://www.alaskaminers.org/state-issues

Updated information on cancelled AMA Biennial Convention – we really appreciate the outpouring of support regarding our cancelled Fairbanks Convention.  Staff is finishing wrapping up the details on refunds, alternate arrangements, etc. and a collective email with information will be sent Monday morning to the membership.  If after reading this email, you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Help the Department of Health with PPE – yesterday we were contacted by the Department of Health and Social Services asking for help with PPE.  If you can spare any N95 or N100 masks, disposable gloves, or surgical masks, contact Wolfe, Doniel S (HSS) <doniel.wolfe@alaska.gov> and she will coordinate the shipment/delivery of those items to redistribute them to testing sites and hospitals.

AMA interview in North of 60 Mining News – thanks to Shane Lasley for the opportunity to answer “20 questions in 2020” in this week’s publication.  I appreciated the opportunity to get some of our issues and updates out to a wide audience!  See it here: https://www.miningnewsnorth.com/story/2020/04/01/in-depth/crockett-discusses-state-of-alaska-mining/6219.html

Don Wilcox – I am saddened to report that Pioneer and AMA Director Don Wilcox passed away March 6.  He was 99 years old.  His wife of 70 years, Dorothy, passed six weeks before. A celebration of life will be held later this summer and I will be sure to let you know when.  His obituary can be viewed here: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/donald-wilcox-obituary?pid=195682638

Final EIS for Ambler Road – today, BLM released the final EIS for the Ambler Road!  See all documents here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=111130

Key provisions in COVID-19 Relief Legislation – NMA has provided a summary of the tax relief provisions in the CARES Act that could benefit mining companies:

Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes.  The bill allows employers (including mining companies) to delay paying the employer share of Social Security tax (typically 6.2% of wages) they would otherwise owe for the rest of this year.  Half of the delayed amount would be due on December 31, 2021, and the other half would be due on December 31, 2022.  This provision will provide significant cash flow help for mining companies and other employers.  The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated it will result in temporary deferral of approximately $350 billion of tax liability.

Net operating loss changes.  The 2017 tax reform law eliminated net operating loss carrybacks and imposed taxable income limits on the use of such losses.  The CARES Act allows losses from 2018, 2019, or 2020 to be carried back five years, thus potentially making available tax refunds from prior years in which companies paid taxes.  The CARES Act also temporarily removes the taxable income limitation to allow NOLs to fully offset income.  This change will provide critical cash flow and liquidity, including for mining companies.  The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated this change will provide $89 billion of near-term tax savings for companies and $25 billion of net savings over the next ten years.

Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax Liability of Corporations.  The 2017 tax reform law repealed the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) and made available refundable credits for past AMT liability over several years ending in 2021.  The CARES Act accelerates the availability of these credits and will result in $3.2 billion of credits being made available this year.  This acceleration of credits will help the cash flow of affected companies, including mining companies, that have past AMT credits.

Modification of limitation on business interest deduction.  The 2017 tax law generally limited business interest deductions to 30% of adjusted taxable income.  The CARES Act increases that limit to 50% for 2019 and 2020.  For companies, including mining companies, with significant borrowings, this change could result in meaningful tax savings.  The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated this change will result in a cumulative $13.3 billion of tax savings over the next ten years.

AMA submits letter to UA on Expedited Review – last week, the University Board of Regents held a listening session following its Expedited Review of Programs.  AMA submitted a letter focusing on the fact that programs that provide job opportunities were overlooked, and urged the Regents to consider retaining the programs that put Alaskans to work.  Our letter can be seen here: http://www.alaskaminers.org/state-issues

Reaching Oxford Assaying: Oxford is still operating as supporting critical businesses – you can work with them by appointment.  In Anchorage call 561-5237 and Fairbanks 456-3967.

Reaching Elemetal Direct – Elemetal is serving miners needs through its locations and Express shipping program.  Contact Eric Prendeville at 907-868-9017 or eprendeville@elemetal.com

Alaska Chamber Survey – did you fill this out yet?  The Alaska Chamber wants to compile information on how our businesses are being impacted and how they can help.  Complete it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6VWXMRN

Aspen Hotels special mining industry rate – we sent this out to the full membership earlier in the week, but Aspen Hotels is offering a $49/night rate for our industry to assist in lodging needs as we respond to travel and health mandates.  Visit www.aspenhotelsak.com or email cfraser@aspenhotelsak.com

Fairbanks: Clarion Hotel rates – the Clarion is offering assistance with our hotel needs for $66/night.  You can book on choicehotels.com using the code LAMA or email reservations@clarionfairbanks.com

Have you seen what ARE is up to? –  Alaska Resource Education has been doing what they can to help teachers, parents, and students during these challenging times with teacher trainings, science lessons, how-to videos, and more.  See some examples:

How-to videos for teachers and parents for home lessons: https://www.akresource.org/homeactivities

Online portal and associated lessons for students to work through online – open to the public so that it is easier to use – can be found here https://bit.ly/2xY64nh

Virtual Science fair focused on Natural Resources next Tuesday, March 31st with project presentations/judging to occur on the 28th and 29th. There will be prizes and awards for each grade range (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12). We know parents are already overwhelmed right now, so we will provide a list of question ideas, offer weekly check-ins with students if they want and do everything we can to take the burden off the parents.  Sign up form is located here:  https://forms.gle/jNSZigUZFok41b9u8

Online renewable energy in Alaska unit for high school students. Zoom meetings/guest speakers, video presentations, and/or a self-directed project. Interested students or teachers can email our STEM educator, Taylor Ferguson at tferguson@akresource.org

Please let them know how they can help you as you navigate this challenging time! Daily updates and more opportunities are also on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/alaskaresource

Great article on Critical Minerals – thanks to Sarah at Blueprint for this.  https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/03/17/getting_critical_medicines_from_china_is_risky_critical_minerals_too__142671.html

Information regarding the upcoming oil tax ballot initiativehttps://www.onealaska.com/joinus


**COVID-19 HEALTH MANDATE**

Issued: March 27, 2020

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. Northern Gas Pipelines photo by Dave Harbour

By: Governor Mike Dunleavy
Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska

To prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is issuing its eleventh health mandate based on its authority under the Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020.

Given the increasing concern for new cases of COVID-19 being transmitted via community spread within the state, Governor Dunleavy and the State of Alaska are issuing the following mandate to go into effect March 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm and will be reevaluated by April 11, 2020.

This mandate is issued to protect the public health of Alaskans. The Governor looks to establish consistent mandates across the State in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The goal is to flatten the curve and disrupt the spread of the virus.

The purpose of this mandate is to restrict the movement of individuals within the State of Alaska in order to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The State of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) acknowledge the importance of social distancing, while maintaining essential healthcare services, public government services, and other essential business activities, to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of COVID-19 in Alaska. It is imperative that Alaskans heed these guidelines.

Health Mandate 011 – Social Distancing

Effective 5 p.m. March 28, 2020:

All persons in Alaska, except for those engaged in essential health care services, public government services, and essential business activities, are mandated to remain at their place of residence and practice social distancing. For the purpose of this mandate, social distancing is defined as maintaining a distance of six feet or greater from any individuals with whom you do not currently reside. Read the “Mandate 11 & 12 FAQ’s” for more details, which can be found here: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/default.aspx

Critical infrastructure includes those items listed in “Alaska’s Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure” (formerly Attachment A) https://gov.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/03232020-COVID-19-Health-Mandate-010-Attachment-A.pdf

I. The Governor orders individuals to abide by the following:

  1. Work from home as much as possible (see Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order).
  2. Immediately isolate any family member who is ill. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html#precautions
  3. Outdoor activity (e.g., walking, hiking, bicycling, running, fishing or hunting) is permitted when a distance of six or more feet can be maintained between individuals not in the same household.
  4. Any individual who exhibits symptoms of illness must not leave their home, including to work, except as necessary to seek or receive medical care.
  5. All individuals shall cease participation in public or private gatherings that include non-household members, regardless of the number of people involved. This includes, but is not limited to, weddings, faith gatherings, graduations, and funeral events.
  6. Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this mandate but are urged to obtain shelter.

II. The Governor orders the closure of non-essential businesses:

  1. All businesses within Alaska, except those listed in Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the state except Minimum Basic Operations, as defined in Section II(c). For clarity, businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).
  2. For purposes of this Mandate, covered businesses include any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or corporate or entity structure.
  3. Minimum Basic Operations” include the following, provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations:
    1. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions.
    2. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

III. The Governor orders employers to abide by the following:

  1. Businesses providing essential services and critical infrastructure will, to the extent reasonably feasible, take reasonable precautions to ensure the health of their service sector and employees.
  2. Public-facing businesses providing essential services and critical infrastructure will proactively promote social distancing between employees and others, including, but not limited to, expanding delivery options, drive-through services, limiting the number of individuals in a building, clearly spacing lines to keep individuals six feet apart, or making appointment times to minimize interactions between members of the public.
  3. Employers will evaluate which of their employees can feasibly work remotely from home and to the extent reasonable, take steps to enable employees to work from home.

A violation of a state COVID-19 Mandate may subject a business or organization to an order to cease operations and/or a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation.

In addition to the potential civil fines noted above, a person or organization that fails to follow the state COVID-19 Mandates designed to protect the public health from this dangerous virus and its impact may, under certain circumstances, also be criminally prosecuted for Reckless Endangerment pursuant to Alaska Statute 11.41.250. Reckless endangerment is defined as follows:

(a) A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.
(b) Reckless endangerment is a class A misdemeanor.

Pursuant to Alaska Statute 12.55.135, a defendant convicted of a class A misdemeanor may be sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment of not more than one year.

Additionally, under Alaska Statute 12.55.035, a person may be fined up to $25,000 for a class A misdemeanor, and a business organization may be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding the greatest of $2,500,000 for a misdemeanor offense that results in death, or $500,000 for a class A misdemeanor offense that does not result in death.

This mandate supersedes any local government or tribal mandate, directive, or order.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit coronavirus.alaska.gov
State of Alaska COVID-19 Mandate 011
Mandates available at https://gov.alaska.gov/home/covid19-healthmandates/

This week’s Natural Resource Related highlights and updates From the Alaska Miners Association:

Mineral tenure legislation passes the Legislature!!  SB155, Exploration & Mining Rights, passed the Legislature this week and is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature. This is BIG!  Please see our press release at http://www.alaskaminers.org/state-issues

Updated information on cancelled AMA Biennial Convention – we really appreciate the outpouring of support regarding our cancelled Fairbanks Convention.  Staff is finishing wrapping up the details on refunds, alternate arrangements, etc. and a collective email with information will be sent Monday morning to the membership.  If after reading this email, you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Help the Department of Health with PPE – yesterday we were contacted by the Department of Health and Social Services asking for help with PPE.  If you can spare any N95 or N100 masks, disposable gloves, or surgical masks, contact Wolfe, Doniel S (HSS) <doniel.wolfe@alaska.gov> and she will coordinate the shipment/delivery of those items to redistribute them to testing sites and hospitals.

AMA interview in North of 60 Mining News – thanks to Shane Lasley for the opportunity to answer “20 questions in 2020” in this week’s publication.  I appreciated the opportunity to get some of our issues and updates out to a wide audience!  See it here: https://www.miningnewsnorth.com/story/2020/04/01/in-depth/crockett-discusses-state-of-alaska-mining/6219.html

Don Wilcox – I am saddened to report that Pioneer and AMA Director Don Wilcox passed away March 6.  He was 99 years old.  His wife of 70 years, Dorothy, passed six weeks before. A celebration of life will be held later this summer and I will be sure to let you know when.  His obituary can be viewed here: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/donald-wilcox-obituary?pid=195682638

Final EIS for Ambler Road – today, BLM released the final EIS for the Ambler Road!  See all documents here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=111130

Key provisions in COVID-19 Relief Legislation – NMA has provided a summary of the tax relief provisions in the CARES Act that could benefit mining companies:

Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes.  The bill allows employers (including mining companies) to delay paying the employer share of Social Security tax (typically 6.2% of wages) they would otherwise owe for the rest of this year.  Half of the delayed amount would be due on December 31, 2021, and the other half would be due on December 31, 2022.  This provision will provide significant cash flow help for mining companies and other employers.  The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated it will result in temporary deferral of approximately $350 billion of tax liability.

Net operating loss changes.  The 2017 tax reform law eliminated net operating loss carrybacks and imposed taxable income limits on the use of such losses.  The CARES Act allows losses from 2018, 2019, or 2020 to be carried back five years, thus potentially making available tax refunds from prior years in which companies paid taxes.  The CARES Act also temporarily removes the taxable income limitation to allow NOLs to fully offset income.  This change will provide critical cash flow and liquidity, including for mining companies.  The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated this change will provide $89 billion of near-term tax savings for companies and $25 billion of net savings over the next ten years.

Credit for Prior Year Minimum Tax Liability of Corporations.  The 2017 tax reform law repealed the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) and made available refundable credits for past AMT liability over several years ending in 2021.  The CARES Act accelerates the availability of these credits and will result in $3.2 billion of credits being made available this year.  This acceleration of credits will help the cash flow of affected companies, including mining companies, that have past AMT credits.

Modification of limitation on business interest deduction.  The 2017 tax law generally limited business interest deductions to 30% of adjusted taxable income.  The CARES Act increases that limit to 50% for 2019 and 2020.  For companies, including mining companies, with significant borrowings, this change could result in meaningful tax savings.  The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated this change will result in a cumulative $13.3 billion of tax savings over the next ten years.

AMA submits letter to UA on Expedited Review – last week, the University Board of Regents held a listening session following its Expedited Review of Programs.  AMA submitted a letter focusing on the fact that programs that provide job opportunities were overlooked, and urged the Regents to consider retaining the programs that put Alaskans to work.  Our letter can be seen here: http://www.alaskaminers.org/state-issues

Reaching Oxford Assaying: Oxford is still operating as supporting critical businesses – you can work with them by appointment.  In Anchorage call 561-5237 and Fairbanks 456-3967.

Reaching Elemetal Direct – Elemetal is serving miners needs through its locations and Express shipping program.  Contact Eric Prendeville at 907-868-9017 or eprendeville@elemetal.com

Alaska Chamber Survey – did you fill this out yet?  The Alaska Chamber wants to compile information on how our businesses are being impacted and how they can help.  Complete it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6VWXMRN

Aspen Hotels special mining industry rate – we sent this out to the full membership earlier in the week, but Aspen Hotels is offering a $49/night rate for our industry to assist in lodging needs as we respond to travel and health mandates.  Visit www.aspenhotelsak.com or email cfraser@aspenhotelsak.com

Fairbanks: Clarion Hotel rates – the Clarion is offering assistance with our hotel needs for $66/night.  You can book on choicehotels.com using the code LAMA or email reservations@clarionfairbanks.com

Have you seen what ARE is up to? –  Alaska Resource Education has been doing what they can to help teachers, parents, and students during these challenging times with teacher trainings, science lessons, how-to videos, and more.  See some examples:

How-to videos for teachers and parents for home lessons: https://www.akresource.org/homeactivities

Online portal and associated lessons for students to work through online – open to the public so that it is easier to use – can be found here https://bit.ly/2xY64nh

Virtual Science fair focused on Natural Resources next Tuesday, March 31st with project presentations/judging to occur on the 28th and 29th. There will be prizes and awards for each grade range (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12). We know parents are already overwhelmed right now, so we will provide a list of question ideas, offer weekly check-ins with students if they want and do everything we can to take the burden off the parents.  Sign up form is located here:  https://forms.gle/jNSZigUZFok41b9u8

Online renewable energy in Alaska unit for high school students. Zoom meetings/guest speakers, video presentations, and/or a self-directed project. Interested students or teachers can email our STEM educator, Taylor Ferguson at tferguson@akresource.org

Please let them know how they can help you as you navigate this challenging time! Daily updates and more opportunities are also on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/alaskaresource

Great article on Critical Minerals – thanks to Sarah at Blueprint for this.  https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/03/17/getting_critical_medicines_from_china_is_risky_critical_minerals_too__142671.html

Information regarding the upcoming oil tax ballot initiativehttps://www.onealaska.com/joinus


**COVID-19 HEALTH MANDATE**

Issued: March 27, 2020

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. Northern Gas Pipelines photo by Dave Harbour

By: Governor Mike Dunleavy
Commissioner Adam Crum, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, State of Alaska

To prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the State of Alaska is issuing its eleventh health mandate based on its authority under the Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy on March 11, 2020.

Given the increasing concern for new cases of COVID-19 being transmitted via community spread within the state, Governor Dunleavy and the State of Alaska are issuing the following mandate to go into effect March 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm and will be reevaluated by April 11, 2020.

This mandate is issued to protect the public health of Alaskans. The Governor looks to establish consistent mandates across the State in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The goal is to flatten the curve and disrupt the spread of the virus.

The purpose of this mandate is to restrict the movement of individuals within the State of Alaska in order to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The State of Alaska and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) acknowledge the importance of social distancing, while maintaining essential healthcare services, public government services, and other essential business activities, to prevent, slow, and otherwise disrupt the spread of COVID-19 in Alaska. It is imperative that Alaskans heed these guidelines.

Health Mandate 011 – Social Distancing

Effective 5 p.m. March 28, 2020:

All persons in Alaska, except for those engaged in essential health care services, public government services, and essential business activities, are mandated to remain at their place of residence and practice social distancing. For the purpose of this mandate, social distancing is defined as maintaining a distance of six feet or greater from any individuals with whom you do not currently reside. Read the “Mandate 11 & 12 FAQ’s” for more details, which can be found here: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/default.aspx

Critical infrastructure includes those items listed in “Alaska’s Essential Services and Critical Infrastructure” (formerly Attachment A) https://gov.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/03232020-COVID-19-Health-Mandate-010-Attachment-A.pdf

I. The Governor orders individuals to abide by the following:

  1. Work from home as much as possible (see Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order).
  2. Immediately isolate any family member who is ill. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html#precautions
  3. Outdoor activity (e.g., walking, hiking, bicycling, running, fishing or hunting) is permitted when a distance of six or more feet can be maintained between individuals not in the same household.
  4. Any individual who exhibits symptoms of illness must not leave their home, including to work, except as necessary to seek or receive medical care.
  5. All individuals shall cease participation in public or private gatherings that include non-household members, regardless of the number of people involved. This includes, but is not limited to, weddings, faith gatherings, graduations, and funeral events.
  6. Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt from this mandate but are urged to obtain shelter.

II. The Governor orders the closure of non-essential businesses:

  1. All businesses within Alaska, except those listed in Alaska Essential Services and Critical Workforce Infrastructure Order, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the state except Minimum Basic Operations, as defined in Section II(c). For clarity, businesses may also continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home).
  2. For purposes of this Mandate, covered businesses include any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entities, regardless of the nature of the service, the function they perform, or corporate or entity structure.
  3. Minimum Basic Operations” include the following, provided that employees comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations:
    1. The minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business’s inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions.
    2. The minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.

III. The Governor orders employers to abide by the following:

  1. Businesses providing essential services and critical infrastructure will, to the extent reasonably feasible, take reasonable precautions to ensure the health of their service sector and employees.
  2. Public-facing businesses providing essential services and critical infrastructure will proactively promote social distancing between employees and others, including, but not limited to, expanding delivery options, drive-through services, limiting the number of individuals in a building, clearly spacing lines to keep individuals six feet apart, or making appointment times to minimize interactions between members of the public.
  3. Employers will evaluate which of their employees can feasibly work remotely from home and to the extent reasonable, take steps to enable employees to work from home.

A violation of a state COVID-19 Mandate may subject a business or organization to an order to cease operations and/or a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation.

In addition to the potential civil fines noted above, a person or organization that fails to follow the state COVID-19 Mandates designed to protect the public health from this dangerous virus and its impact may, under certain circumstances, also be criminally prosecuted for Reckless Endangerment pursuant to Alaska Statute 11.41.250. Reckless endangerment is defined as follows:

(a) A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.
(b) Reckless endangerment is a class A misdemeanor.

Pursuant to Alaska Statute 12.55.135, a defendant convicted of a class A misdemeanor may be sentenced to a definite term of imprisonment of not more than one year.

Additionally, under Alaska Statute 12.55.035, a person may be fined up to $25,000 for a class A misdemeanor, and a business organization may be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding the greatest of $2,500,000 for a misdemeanor offense that results in death, or $500,000 for a class A misdemeanor offense that does not result in death.

This mandate supersedes any local government or tribal mandate, directive, or order.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit coronavirus.alaska.gov
State of Alaska COVID-19 Mandate 011
Mandates available at https://gov.alaska.gov/home/covid19-healthmandates/