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) <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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¤tPageId=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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.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 initiative: https://www.onealaska.com/joinus