Facts about the mine

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, May 02, 2006

In response to Tim Arnold's letter to the Empire, April 9, 2006, I present actual facts in response to Mr. Arnold's "Top Ten." However, I can't address all 10 in the 400 words the Empire allows.

Sound off on the important issues at

1) "Small Mine, not much land affected" facts: Kensington is a large mine as defined by law. This is irrefutable, because of the fact that the mine required a large mining permit. Coeur Alaska, in 1997, applied to city of Juneau for "Large Mine Permit MIN-M96-01." You can look up this permit on Juneau's Web site. The permit document states there will be 269 acres "disturbed" (read "destroyed"), another 8,570 acres "controlled by the applicant!"

Small? You be the judge. It will employ nearly 500 people during construction, 250 people during operation. Millions of tons of hazardous tailings will be produced, hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel will be transported, stored and consumed. Kensington is a large mine. This is a fact, contrary to Mr. Arnold's letter.

2) We will view with regret the dock and development on pristine Berners Bay. There will be a road from this dock to the mine. Our roadless national forest will be forever damaged. And we may not be able to see the poisonous runoff and particulate pollution that will forever ruin Berners Bay, but it will be there.

3) Kensington will not use cyanide or "other harsh chemical." According to the same permit, hydrogen sulfide will be used. This chemical "is listed as an Extremely Hazardous Substance" - or a substance that poses an acute inhalable toxic threat - by the EPA. It's a gas that, when inhaled, produces death. "Exposures of 700-800 PPM or greater usually result in death." The 1997 permit that Coeur applied for lists numerous hazardous chemicals that will be used at the mine including: lead nitrate and ferric chloride, severe poisons. One extremely hazardous and two severe poisons will be used, and other dangerous chemicals, some of which the health effects are not yet known. You can research any of the chemicals easily on the Web. They are harsh and nasty chemicals.

My 400 words are finished, but the destruction is just beginning. Look at the history of mining and the breadth of the destruction the mining industry has left. And ask yourself who is telling the truth

Fred Einspruch


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