Coeur picks Kensington contractors

Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2009

Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp., the Idaho-based parent company of Coeur Alaska Inc., announced Friday that AIC and Kake Tribal Corp. will be its contractors to complete the final component of the companies' Juneau-area Kensington Gold Mine.

"We are pleased to make this award to these highly skilled Alaska-based union contractors and look forward to bringing Kensington into production next year," said Tom Henderson, general manager of the mine, in a statement.

Kake Tribal is one of several members of the alliance that founded BBC Human Resources Development Corp., which preps job seekers for employment with Coeur Alaska.

The electrical work for the project is being awarded to ALCAN Electrical & Engineering, Inc., based out of Juneau.

The mine is expected to employ as many as 300 workers during construction, and approximately 200 during operations.

The announcement did not include hard hiring or construction start dates, but said the contractors "are available for immediate mobilization of personnel" and reiterated that mine production is expected to begin in third quarter of 2010.

Construction had been held because of disputes between mine interests and environmentalists. Disposal of tailings, the ground-up waste rock left over after metals are removed from ore, was the subject of years of cooperation, initially, which turned to rankling after Coeur abandoned the environmental groups' preferred tailings disposal method. The dispute ultimately led to a U.S. Supreme Court case that was decided in June in Coeur's favor.

Coeur plans to dump the tailings into Lower Slate Lake and treat the water flowing out to Berners Bay; the environmental groups sought a wetland disposal option that would preserve the lake.

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