2nd Class City
in the Bethel Census Area
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Watering Points, Electric
Geography and Climate
- Platinum is located on the Bering Sea coast, below Red Mountain on the south spit of Goodnews Bay. It lies 11 miles from Goodnews Bay, 123 miles southwest of Bethel, and 440 miles west of Anchorage.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
- Platinum has a marine climate. Average annual precipitation is 22 inches, with 43 inches of snowfall. Summer highs range from 53 to 57 °F, and winter highs average 6 to 9 °F. Extremes have been measured from -34 to 82 °F.
History and Culture
- Platinum is near a traditional village site called Arviq. The community was established shortly after traces of platinum were discovered by an Eskimo named Walter Smith in 1926. Between 1927 and 1934, several small placer mines operated on creeks in the area. Some 3,000 troy ounces of platinum were mined over that period, with a value of about $48 per ounce. A post office opened in 1935. The "big strike" occurred in October of 1936, which brought a stampede of prospectors for "white gold." The claims proved to be too deep for hand-mining methods and were bought out by two companies. The largest, Goodnews Mining Company, eventually acquired title to over 150 claims. In 1937, a large dredge was built at the mining site, about 10 miles from the Village of Platinum. The company also constructed bunkhouses, a recreation hall, offices, shops, and a cafeteria. Platinum developed as a "company town," with the store, water, and electricity supplied by the mine. A school opened in 1960. By 1975, 545,000 ounces of platinum had been mined at the site, and a city government was formed. The mine was later sold to Hanson Properties, who estimated reserves of over 500,000 ounces -- it ceased operations in 1990.
- Because the community was founded as a commercial center and has always seen an influx of outsiders, local traditions have not been retained as much as in other villages. Platinum is one of the few Eskimo villages in the region in which the first language of the children is English. The economy is primarily cash-based.
- Indigenous Language
- Central Yup'ik
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Platinum Traditional Village
- Local Option Restrictions
- Ban sale and importation of alcohol.
- Incorporation Type
- 2nd Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- Planning, Platting and Land Use Regulation
- Not required to exercise the powers in any circumstance, but may be permitted in all cases in the manner described for first class cities.
- Property Tax Powers
- May tax up to 20 mills, except where a higher levy is required to avoid default. Voter approval required.
- Sales Tax Powers
- No limit on the rate of levy of sales taxes; however, voter approval is required.
- Other Powers Not Prohibited
- May exercise other powers not prohibited by law.
- City Council or Assembly Composition and Apportionment
- 7 members elected at-large, except the council may provide for election other than at-large.
- Election and Term of Mayor
- Elected from the city council for a 1-year term, unless a longer term is provided by ordinance. Mayor selected by council (or by voters upon adoption of ordinance).
- Vote by Mayor
- Votes on all matters.
- Veto Power of the Mayor
- Does not have veto power.
- Power of Eminent Domain
- Permitted, but requires voter approval.
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- May not adopt home-rule charter without first reclassifying to a first-class city.
- Platinum relies heavily on air transportation for passengers and mail and cargo service. There are two gravel airstrips. A seaplane landing site is also available near Platinum, and barge services deliver goods twice a year. Boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs are used for local travel and subsistence activities. A 6.8-mile road to the south connects Platinum to the platinum ore fields of the Salmon River, but there is no road connection between Platinum and other areas of the State. A coastal trail connects Platinum with Goodnews Bay and Quinhagak and extends northward to Bethel. Additional trails connect Goodnews Bay southeast to Togiak, and north to Carter Creek, Indian River, and Jacksmith Creek, and to the Faro and Keno Creek area of the Arolik River.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection