Alaska Statutes.
Title 38. Public Land
Chapter 5. Alaska Land Act
Section 150. Coal.
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AS 38.05.150. Coal.

(a) The commissioner may, and upon the petition of a qualified applicant, shall divide coal land or the deposits of coal owned by the state into leasing tracts of 40 acres each, or multiples of 40 acres, and in the form which will permit the economical mining of the coal in the tract.

(b) Thereafter the commissioner may, upon the request of a qualified applicant or otherwise, from time to time, offer the land or deposits of coal for leasing. Each lease shall be awarded to a qualified applicant by competitive bidding or by the method prescribed by regulation.

(c) Where prospecting or exploration work is necessary to determine the existence or workability of coal deposits in an unclaimed and undeveloped area, the commissioner may issue to qualified applicants prospecting permits for a term of three years, covering not more than 5,120 acres with each permit. The commissioner shall grant a two-year extension of the initial three-year term of the permit if the permittee has conducted reasonably diligent prospecting or exploration activities in the area covered by the permit, has not been able to determine the existence and workability of coal deposits in the area, and wishes to continue prospecting or exploring in the area. The commissioner may grant up to three two-year extensions of the initial three-year term of the permit. At any time during the period of the permit, the permittee is entitled to a lease after submitting a mining plan satisfactory to the commissioner for that portion of the land in the permit as is shown to the satisfaction of the commissioner to contain coal in commercial quantities or to be needed for mining, reclamation, or processing the coal.

(d) For the privilege of mining or extracting the coal in the land covered by the lease, the lessee

(1) shall pay to the state the royalties specified in the lease; the royalties shall be fixed before offering the lease, and shall be effective for a period of not more than 20 years; the royalties shall be not less than five cents a ton of 2,000 pounds; the royalty payment is subject to the exploration incentive credit authorized by AS 27.30;

(2) shall also pay an annual rental, payable at the date of the lease and annually thereafter, on the land or coal deposits covered by the lease, at a rate fixed by the commissioner before offering the lease; the annual rental shall be effective for a period of not more than 20 years; the annual rental shall be not less than 25 cents an acre for the first year of the lease, not less than 50 cents an acre for the second year, third year, fourth year and fifth year, and not less than $1 an acre for each year thereafter during the continuance of the lease; the rental for each year shall be credited against the royalties as they accrue for that year; each lease shall provide that the annual rental payment is subject to adjustment at intervals of no more than 20 years and adjustments shall be based on the current rates for properties similarly situated.

(e) Each lease shall be for an indeterminate period upon condition of diligent development and continued operation of the mine, except when operation is interrupted by strikes, the elements, or casualties not attributed to the lessee.

(f) Notwithstanding AS 38.05.132 (a), 38.05.180(ff), or 38.05.180(gg), a lease entered into under this section gives the lessee the right to vent or remove methane and other gas held in association with the coal in the land covered by the lease to ensure safe coal mining operations.

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