AJ Mine Advisory Committee created

Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Research on whether the AJ Mine could be developed will move forward as seven people have been appointed to the newly formed AJ Mine Advisory Committee.

Mayor Bruce Botelho announced the appointments late Monday for the committee that will advise the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly on information for the question: “Under what circumstances, if any, should CBJ promote development of the AJ Mine?”

Committee members will include chairwoman Donna Pierce, retired deputy city and borough manager; vice-chairman Kurt Fredrikkson, environmental regulatory and permitting consultant; Frank Bergstrom, geologist and Alaska Mental Health Trust land office senior research manager; Laurie Fergusson Craig, artist and naturalist; Gregg Erickson, economist and journalist; Maria Gladziszewski, planning commission chairwoman; and Sam Smith, engineer.

The committee will look at the history of the mine, review the data currently available on development and gather other information.

By May 1, the committee will submit a report on its findings to the Assembly for consideration. If the committee finds there are circumstances where it would be acceptable for the city to promote opening the mine, it will provide “next steps” guidelines.

City engineer Rorie Watt will serve as staff liaison to the committee.

An effort to redevelop the mine occurred in 1979 and 1980, when the city and Alaska Electric Light and Power entered into unitization agreements, consolidating two mining properties into one. They looked for lessees, and in 1984 it was leased to BPC Alaska Corporation. In 1985, the leases were then assigned to Echo Bay Exploration and, in 1991, to Echo Bay Alaska. Between 1985 and 1997, Echo Bay spent about $140 million trying to reopen the mine.

In the past 10 years, there haven’t been efforts to develop the mine, but the city Assembly added researching the possibility of the mine’s opening to its 2011 goals.

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