The Tongass National Forest is seeking the public’s input on a proposed expansion of operations at the Kensington Gold Mine located north of Juneau, the U.S. Forest Service announced Friday.
The Kensington Gold Mine, operated by Coeur Alaska Inc., is an underground gold mine on a mix of patented land and the Tongass National Forest, the Forest Service said in a news release. It has been in production since late June 2010. Kensington provides approximately 387 jobs in Juneau and Southeast Alaska, the release said.
Coeur Alaska Inc. is requesting an operations plan amendment for additional tailings, waste rock disposal and related infrastructure at the mine, the U.S. Forest Service said in a news release. A 45-day public comment period on the supplemental environmental impact statement, which considers the proposed changes to the Plan of Operations, begins on Oct. 30 and will remain open until Dec. 14.
The proposed additions would extend the life of the mine. The current predicted life of the Kensington mine currently ends in 2023, according to the Forest Service. Activities under the proposed Plan of Operations Amendment will add 10 years to the expected mine life to 2033.
“The Forest Service recognizes the importance of mineral resources and encourages safe, responsible mineral exploration and development as part of our multiple-use mandate,” said Brad Orr, Juneau District Ranger, in the release. “We are working with Coeur Alaska to analyze potential impacts of their proposed extension of operations for the mine, and public input is an important part of the analysis.”
Forest Service experts will work toward minimizing the impacts of mining activities on other forest resources by working closely with the state and other federal agencies with regulatory authority to ensure that measures are in place to protect water quality and nearby aquatic habitats, according to the Forest Service.
Earlier this month the Forest Service began a public comment period on a proposed expansion of the Hecla Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island, which is looking to expand its tailings and waste rock facilities as well.
According to the release, public comments submitted during this period will be considered and responded to in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and used to help finalize the Draft Decision. Project information, meeting announcements, legal notices, and documents are posted on the project web page at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55533.
Virtual public meetings will be scheduled in Juneau and Haines, the Forest Service said, but did not give dates.
Comments can be submitted several ways:
• Electronically at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55533
• Email to email@example.com
• Fax to 907-586-8808.
• Mail to 8510 Mendenhall Loop Rd, Juneau AK 99801; attention Kensington Mine Plan Amendment