The Kensington Mine in 2007. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

The Kensington Mine in 2007. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Mining Subcommittee welcomes public comment on possible ordinance changes

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Mining Subcommittee has not taken public comment at its meetings to date. That will change soon.

As the committee examines the city’s mining ordinance and weighs whether to make changes to it, members of the public are invited to share their thoughts at the committee’s next meeting. That meeting starts at 5:30 p.m., March 1 in the Assembly Chambers at City Hall.

Prior to that, people can submit written comments until Feb. 22 by sending emails to or mailing the City Clerk’s Office at 155 S. Seward Street, Juneau AK 99801.

At the committee’s Feb. 8 meeting, City Attorney Amy Mead presented a revised version of the ordinance. This version is available online by going to and looking under the “CBJ News” heading.

At the committee’s Jan. 25 meeting, the committee members directed Mead to rework parts of the ordinance for clarity’s sake. The version Mead presented to the committee members includes notes in red that detail the changes she made. She did not make any large substantive changes, instead making changes to wording and the order of some items.

During the Feb. 8 meeting, committee members discussed three other changes to the ordinance. These changes have not yet been applied to the ordinance. Mead’s memo detailing the proposed changes is also available on the city’s website. One proposed change is adding the definition of “small mine” and “large mine” to the ordinance for clarification.

The other two proposed changes have to do with the socioeconomic study that is required prior to beginning a mining operation. A socioeconomic study is done early in the process of a mining exploration to determine the effects a mine would have on the way a city works.

The second proposed change says a mining operation could skip the socioeconomic study if it’s determined that a mine “will present no meaningful or significant impacts” to the city. The final proposed change would be that a mining operation could rely on a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) instead of a socioeconomic study.

Mayor Ken Koelsch formed the subcommittee in June 2017 to determine whether the ordinance needed reworking. A group of men submitted a proposal to the Assembly in April 2017 asking the Assembly to eliminate portions of the ordinance to make Juneau a more convenient and attractive place to open a mine.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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