Usibelli Mine’s Impact Goes Way Beyond Jobs

Usibelli Mine’s Impact Goes Way Beyond Jobs

June 28, 2019

Power The Future Executive Director Daniel Turner and I spent Thursday in both Fairbanks and Healy, Alaska.  In Fairbanks, we met with small business owners who depend on responsible oil and gas development on Alaska’s North Slope.  Their businesses – like hundreds of others across the state – look at Alaska’s resource prospects and are bullish on Alaska’s future.

110 miles down the road from Fairbanks is Healy, population just over 1000 people.

The Usibelli Coal Mine employs 106 workers, with most living in and around Healy.  It was founded 76 years ago by Emil Usibelli, who ran the mine until 1964, when he turned it over to his son, Joe (Sr.).  Joe’s leadership of the Usibelli operation lasted until 1985, when his son, Joe Jr., assumed the Presidency.

Daniel and I took a site tour, during which we were able to see the full scope of Usibelli’s activities.  From its ongoing developments to areas that have been fully restored to a state much like it was before being mined, our guide provided us with a wealth of information, and was happy to answer any questions we had.

It was amazing to see the seams of coal in the rock formations, just as it was incredible to hear the background on how each of the areas in their claim were developed (or will be in the future).

Realizing that this mine is 76 years old, the amount of coal left to mine is staggering.  Usibelli estimates they could be mining this area for another 100 years!

One statistic – above all else – stood out during the tour.  As of today, Usibelli has gone 887 days without a lost-time accident.  When you figure they have 60 or so people active in the field each day – and are a 24/7 project – going nearly 2-1/2 years without a serious injury is amazing.

Usibelli’s more than just a generational employer for Interior Alaska.  They provide the coal to run the University of Alaska’s Fairbanks campus, military bases (Ft. Wainwright and Eielson AFB) and supply a percentage of the Fairbanks-area’s energy needs as well.  In addition, they are a leading philanthropic donor, supporting a variety of K-12, University-level and technical education programs, as well as sports teams, Boy and Girl Scouts, and many more programs.

Power The Future was founded to be an advocate for energy workers across America.  We especially enjoy our work when we see companies like Usibelli, who responsibly, safely and effectively produce materials for the energy community, and do so as a foundational member of a town or region.  We thank Usibelli for opening its doors to us, and we are honored to have had the chance to view a few hours of its incredible operation.  A few pictures from today’s site visit are below.