Items of Interest

Regulations have been issued under which private individuals and corporations may without further delay begin the leasing and operating of the vast coal fields of the territory of Alaska. Ten years have elapsed since the Alaskan coal fields were withdrawn from private entry and development. The regulations are accompanied by maps and important general information regarding the lands in question. There are about 33,370 acres of coal-bearing lands in the Bering River country, and about 13,920 acres in the Matanuska section restored to entry. Small areas in each of the fields have been reserved, as required by law. Areas of leasing units vary in size from 320 to 1200 acres in the Matanuska region, and from 200 to 1280 acres in the Bering River section. Both regions contain high grade bituminous and anthracite coal. Leases will be granted for a period of fifty years. The Government exacts a royalty of two cents a ton the first five years, and five cents a ton for the succeeding twenty years. After this period of twenty-five years, it is provided that the royalty shall not exceed five per cent of the selling price of the coal.

The value of the annual production of oil from the needles of various cone-bearing trees is about fifty thousand dollars. Black and white spruce and eastern hemlock produce very similar oils, forty to fifty thousand pounds annually, worth forty-five to sixty cents per pound. Red cedar produces fifteen to twenty thousand pounds of oil having the same value per pound as the spruce and hemlock oil. A few other species furnish the rest of the conifer-leaf oil produced in the United States. Besides the home product, small quantities of needle oil are imported from Europe. One of these, silver fir oil, brings four dollars a pound. In most cases these oils have a pleasant odor.

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Article
True Courtesy
June 10, 1916
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