The gold rush days of Alaska are over but mining runs deep in the state's veins. Groups gathered to recognized the state's sixth annual Alaska Mining Day, honoring the industry's heritage and role in shaping the state's economy.

The Alaska Miners Association was established in 1939 and celebrated its 80th anniversary with a party Friday. AMA executive director Deantha Crockett said it's important to showcase the hard work miners do across the state.

"We created a day in which we would all honor the mining industry in Alaska," Crockett said. "So looking at the past and how mining was really instrumental in developing our state. A lot of the cities like Fairbanks and Juneau are there today because mining created them and established them. The present contributions, what mines do in terms of jobs, government revenues, mineral supply to the world and then what our future potential is. So looking at all the things that make a great mining industry here in Alaska and something to celebrate."

According to a study by the McDowell Group in collaboration with AMA, the 2017 export value of production from mines was $1.8 billion, or 36% of Alaska’s total exports. In 2018, Alaska's mining industry generated $358 million in payments to Alaska Native Corporations, $34 million in local government revenue and $146 million in state government revenue.

The report states mining provided more than 9,200 direct and indirect jobs last year.

There are currently six producing mines in the state that provide resources such as coal, gold, lead, silver, zinc and construction materials.

Two projects in development — Donlin Gold and Pebble — are still in the permitting phases. The  comment period on the proposed Pebble Mine’s draft environmental impact statement was recently extended by 30 days to June 29. after requests to do so by Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Jes Stugelmayer contributed to this report.

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