It's the second largest industry in Alaska with the bulk of mining interests on state land generating revenue through taxes, rents, and royalties as well of jobs that are often in remote locations that lack better alternatives.
But if miners make the slightest error in filling out a form filed annually with the Department of Natural Resources - millions of dollars in investments - mines that have been in a family and passed down for generations - can be lost with no recourse for the claim holder.
We sat down with Fairbanks Senator Click Bishop in an exclusive one-on-one to talk about his bill which makes the draconian standard more reasonable and lowers the risk so that no more livelihoods are lost based on an honest mistake.
Under the current system, if a mistake is made there is no opportunity to correct it, the claim is irredeemably lost at the moment it is recorded.
Additionally, if the smallest mistake is discovered on a past affidavit, even if it is decades old, ongoing operations can immediately be trespassed with equipment seized and buildings bulldozed down by the State. The bill passed the House and the Senate and is waiting to be transmitted to the Governor's desk.