The Kensington Mine mill site and portal sit at the base of Lions Head Mountain. Berners Bay can be seen in the background. 2007 file photo.

The Kensington Mine mill site and portal sit at the base of Lions Head Mountain. Berners Bay can be seen in the background. 2007 file photo.

Coeur Alaska gets OK for fuel depot at Kensington Mine

The owners of the Kensington gold mine north of Juneau have received a federal OK for a long-planned fuel depot to be built on U.S. Forest Service land at the mine site. The decision document was released Monday after being signed Friday by Juneau District Ranger Brad Orr.

According to project documents, the depot will contain seven fuel tanks with a total capacity of 350,000 gallons — equivalent to about one month’s fuel consumption at the mine.

The fuel depot plan was filed with the U.S. Forest Service in late 2014 as an alternative to fuel deliveries by container-laden barges and took more than a year to progress through a federal analysis.

Kensington relies on five diesel generators (and two emergency backups) for on-site electricity and uses heavy diesel-powered equipment at the mine site. According to project documents, the mine receives diesel shipments once per week; the fuel depot “will allow the mine to avoid any unforeseen weather-related shipping delays.”

According to the site plan, a hose and pipeline will extend from a barge landing at the mine’s existing Slate Cove terminal to the fuel depot uphill. Fuel deliveries will be by bulk barge.

While no significant construction is planned for state land, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources has opened a public comment period for the public’s thoughts on amending Coeur Alaska’s tideland lease to accommodate the change in fuel delivery.

Comments must be submitted to david.gann@alaska.gov by Feb. 24.

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