Legislature(2017 - 2018)

2018-01-31 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2018-01-31                     House Journal                      Page 2283
HB 317                                                                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 317 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                   
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         

2018-01-31                     House Journal                      Page 2284
    "An Act amending requirements for qualifications to acquire or                                                              
    hold mining rights; amending rental rates for mining locations and                                                          
    leases; repealing annual labor requirements for mining locations;                                                           
    providing for waiver of a cure penalty for abandonment because                                                              
    of failure to properly record a statement of labor; and providing                                                           
    for an effective date."                                                                                                     
was read the first time and referred to the Resources and Finance                                                               
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                                             
1.  Fiscal, Dept. of Natural Resources                                                                                          
The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 26 follows:                                                                     
"Dear Speaker Edgmon:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to amendments to                                                                
qualifications to acquire or hold mining rights and to annual rental                                                            
rates for mining claims, leasehold location, prospecting site and                                                               
mining lease.                                                                                                                   
The bill would repeal State annual labor requirements for State and                                                             
federal mining claims, as well as annual labor requirements for State                                                           
mining leasehold locations. Administration of the annual labor                                                                  
requirements is costly to the Department of Natural Resources. Minor                                                            
errors on affidavits may result in unintentional abandonment of a                                                               
claim or leasehold location by the locator. Further, miners on State                                                            
land are already able to avoid conducting labor by paying a fee in lieu                                                         
of labor. Instead of requiring annual labor or payment in lieu of labor,                                                        
the progressive rental rates for State mining locations and leases will                                                         
be increased. This will ease administration of mining claims and also                                                           
discourage individuals from holding claims without developing them.                                                             
The bill also provides for a new requirement in order to be qualified to                                                        
acquire or hold a mining right. A person or entity must be a "bona fide                                                         
miner" in addition to the other requirements of AS 38.05.190.  A                                                                
"bona fide" miner is defined as one who locates or holds a mining                                                               

2018-01-31                     House Journal                      Page 2285
claim or lease in good faith for purposes of mineral exploration and                                                            
development and not for the prevention of mineral exploration or                                                                
development. The bill also provides a method for the Department of                                                              
Natural Resources to request affidavits stating that a miner is "bona                                                           
fide." This provision provides additional assurance that mining                                                                 
locations and leases will be acquired and held in good faith.                                                                   
For State claims and leasehold locations, the bill would also provide a                                                         
waiver of the penalty for cure of abandonment caused by a failure to                                                            
properly record a statement of annual labor as required before the                                                              
effective date of sections 8 and 9 of the bill.                                                                                 
The bill contains a transition provision providing for authority for the                                                        
Department of Natural Resources to adopt regulations necessary to                                                               
implement the changes made by the bill, effective immediately. The                                                              
rest of the bill is effective September 2, 2018, and an applicability                                                           
provision makes it clear that for purposes of annual labor, the bill will                                                       
be applicable to the labor year that otherwise would begin                                                                      
September 1, 2018.                                                                                                              
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Bill Walker