On the brighter side, the diversification of our state's economy is something to be happy about. We're developing a strong mining industry with five large mines, another soon to start, and one almost built and with a path through some legal obstacles. Another large mine is at an advanced stage of development, and another really big one -- yes, it's Pebble -- in an advanced stage of exploration.
Mines employ a lot of people from local communities and that's a big deal in rural Alaska. The big Red Dog lead-zinc mine in Northwest Alaska has lifted that region out of its previous economically-distressed condition. The big Donlin Creek gold mine near the Kuskokwim River, which could be in construction soon, would do the same for cash-strapped Yukon-Kuskokwim communities.
Although the Pebble project has prompted objections, let's remember that the mine would create an economic base for small nearby communities that now face a bleak future.
An important consideration is that many of these mines are on private land owned by Alaskans -- Native corporations in fact -- which means these mines not only create good jobs but that part of the profits stay home."