The Tailing Treatment Facility and Upper Slate Lake at the Kensington Mine on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Coeur Alaska wants to expand the life of the mine which will require expanding this lake which holds processed material from the mine. The lake has its own water treatment plant which continually processes wastewater. The company says it follows the strictest environmental precautions. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

The Tailing Treatment Facility and Upper Slate Lake at the Kensington Mine on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Coeur Alaska wants to expand the life of the mine which will require expanding this lake which holds processed material from the mine. The lake has its own water treatment plant which continually processes wastewater. The company says it follows the strictest environmental precautions. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Comment period opens for proposed mine operations extension

Expanding the life of the mine means expanding facilities

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.

[Digging into Kensington Gold Mine]

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.”

Workers inside the Kensington Gold Mine on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Kensington began its operations in 2010 after a prolonged legal battle over the Tailing Treatment Facility which environmentalists say is a threat to fish habitats. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Workers inside the Kensington Gold Mine on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Kensington began its operations in 2010 after a prolonged legal battle over the Tailing Treatment Facility which environmentalists say is a threat to fish habitats. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

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.

[Coeur Alaska to expand Kensington operations]

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 sm.fs.kensington@usda.gov

• Fax to 907-586-8808.

• Mail to 8510 Mendenhall Loop Rd, Juneau AK 99801; attention Kensington Mine Plan Amendment

More in News

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Tuesday, Nov. 24

The most recent state and local numbers.

A sign seen near Twin Lakes on Sept. 17 encourages residents to wear cloth face coverings while in public. Health officials are asking Alaskans for help with contact tracing. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Health officials seek help with virus notification

Recent surge created a contact tracing backlog.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Monday, Nov. 23

The most recent state and local numbers.

It has always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Saturday, Nov. 21

The most recent state and local numbers.

This July 2014 photo shows Margerie Glacier, one of many glaciers that make up Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park. U.S. officials on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, released details on proposed land conservation purchases for the coming year amid bipartisan objection to restrictions on how the government’s money can be spent. (AP Photo / Kathy Matheson)
Land conservation plan stirs fight over Trump restrictions

It would buy up private property inside the boundaries of Glacier Bay National Park.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. On Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, the top U.S. public health agency said that coronavirus can spread greater distances through the air than 6 feet, particularly in poorly ventilated and enclosed spaces. But agency officials continued to say such spread is uncommon, and current social distancing guidelines still make sense. (NIAID-RML via AP)
COVID at a glance for Friday, Nov. 20

The most recent state and local numbers.

Has it always been a police car? (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Sherry Simpson and a BMW she loved to drive in New Mexico, where she moved after leaving Alaska. (Courtesy Photo / Scott Kiefer)
Alaska Science Forum: Remembering a gift of observation

Consider this, a closing tribute to a modest superstar.

Most Read