Coeur Alaska was pleased to learn recently that its 404 permit had been reinstated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We look forward to a busy and productive year ahead as we continue with our aggressive construction schedule. Having said that, and judging by the occasional letter to the editor, I can't help but notice that the mine continues to be the subject of some misunderstandings. Here, then, is a "Top 10" list of the reasons why the Kensington project is the right project at the right time.
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1. Kensington is a small underground mine. As such, there is very little land affected.
2. The project will not be visible from Berners Bay with the exception of a very modest dock facility at Slate Cove.
3. Kensington will not use cyanide or other harsh chemicals on site. The Kensington ore concentrate will be shipped off site for final processing.
4. The rock material left after gold removal tailings from the Kensington mine is inert. In fact, this material will likely be similar in content to the sand we all recreate on at Sandy Beach.
5. Kensington's use of Lower Slate Lake is temporary. When mining is complete, the company will rehabilitate the lake, making it three times larger with habitat even better than the lake's current natural state.
6. An Environmental Protection Agency-contracted study concluded the productivity of the lake will be better after mining and reclamation than the current natural state.
7. Kensington has incorporated the best and brightest thinking into this project in every area. Over the years, Kensington has been the subject of some 900 separate studies to the tune of more than $25 million.
8. Reclamation of the mine has been guaranteed. The company has posted a multimillion-dollar bond to ensure the site is reclaimed to productive wildlife habitat after mining.
9. Coeur Alaska is committed to local and native hire and job training to ensure sustainable and transferable skills for our work force.
10. The Kensington Mine will provide long-term employment for some 200 Alaskans and pump tens of millions of dollars annually into the economy of Southeast Alaska.
Coeur Alaska's vice president and general manager