I'm writing to encourage Coeur Alaska to work with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and other parties to find a solution to the Kensington situation.
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SEACC's suggestion that Coeur can reduce delay by using the tailings disposal site that was reviewed in the 2004 supplemental environmental impact statement and approved by state and federal agencies in 1998, is an excellent one. This site has been through an EIS evaluation, and, unlike the Lower Slate Lake site, actually provides enough tailings storage for the project.
As expected, Coeur recently expanded its ore reserves beyond what will fit in Lower Slate Lake. Additional reserves, such as the Jualin ore body, will continue to add to the tailings volume. There is no permitted disposal area that has enough capacity to handle the Kensington tailings.
I have argued for several years that the key failure of Coeur's Lower Slate Lake plan is capacity. Coeur has before it the option of going back before the courts to argue for an inadequate facility or moving forward and securing a tailings location that fits the mine.
Coeur should work with SEACC and the permitting agencies to come up with mutually acceptable temporary tailings storage options while an acceptable and adequately sized permanent dry-stack tailings facility is being permitted.