Ask questions of Coeur

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Any reasonable person should ask a few questions about the proposed Kensington Mine project in Berners Bay. I respect an informed decision even if I disagree with it. So let's ask some questions and you decide.

What is Coeur's record on environmental quality at a work site?

Coeur's Rochester mine in Nevada has been cited by the state for cyanide leaching into groundwater.

Couer also gave the gift of the largest Superfund site in the country to Idaho.

Think a moment here. Would you let a convicted and active felon take care of your kid?

What does it mean when Coeur says Lower Slate Lake will be "enhanced" by dumping tailings into it?

What I have learned is that by "enhanced," Coeur is stating, without peer-reviewed studies, that it can bring the lake back to life after the mine shuts down. Many of the studies Coeur cites as evidence that it can recreate a viable ecosystem in the lake were conducted by Coeur and its own consultants. Fox running the hen house here?

What are Coeur's concerns? What is their interest here?

Coeur has spent tens of millions of dollars in failed mine designs since '92. Since '98, Coeur has held permits to build the mine on the Lynn Canal side. They have held out for six years waiting for the price of gold to increase. We trust them to honor our interests and hopefully the integrity of our land. But the Berners Bay mine does not provide more jobs, and it does not generate more tax revenue to the city of Juneau than the '98 plan. It is just cheaper for the company.

To review, a company with a spotty, even scary environmental integrity record, who speaks of doing the mine safely and cheaply, wants to leave us a huge industrial port at Cascade Point and a partially decommissioned one at Slate Cove, as well as hundreds of tons of fill in Slate Lake, as a gift in a mere 10 to 15 years? Should I be concerned?

What kind of questions would you ask?

David Thomas


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