State permitters on Wednesday evening released a packet of questions to the Tulsequah Chief Mine operator regarding its application to barge ore and supplies on the Taku River year-round.
Taku fishermen, cabin owners and other river users have been concerned the plan might hurt the river's rich habitat for fish and wildlife.
That's also the scope of the state's request, which includes specific questions on how the barge will be tested, how it can be used safely, how Redfern will know if the system is affecting the environment and its inhabitants.
The state also asked Redfern to detail the project's potential economic impact on the region, and why the project should take priority over other Taku users. When faced with a project that could affect competing users, state permitters are obliged to give preference to the users that are economically or physically dependent on the coast.
Mine company Redfern Resources Ltd., owned by Vancouver-based Redcorp Ventures Ltd., wants to develop the multi-metal mine, 40 miles northeast of Juneau, in 2009. An agreement with Gold Wheaton Corp. to supply the company with capital hinges on the company getting state permits by March.
The state Alaska Coastal Management Program stopped the 30-day permit review clock in mid-December because permitters needed more information, but the questions are just now being released to the company and the public.
The permit review will be suspended until Redfern answers the questions to the state's satisfaction.