Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2007

Greens Creek owner rejects buyout

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JUNEAU - The company that owns a majority of the Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island is being pursued by another large mining company.

BHP Billiton confirmed it is pursuing rival Rio Tinto, which owns a 70 percent stake in Greens Creek Mining Co.

Rio Tinto rejected BHP's buyout offer, but the company plans on continuing its pursuit, a BHP statement said.

"BHP Billiton has again written to Rio Tinto and intends to continue to seek an opportunity to meet and discuss its proposal with Rio Tinto," a BHP statement said.

On Wall Street, BHP Billiton fell $3.50, or 4.4 percent, to $76.85, while Rio Tinto surged $82.70, or 23 percent, to $440.20.

Coast Guard holds blanket, coat, toy drive

JUNEAU - The U.S. Coast Guard is hosting its annual blanket, coat and new toy drive for Southeast Alaska.

The drive began Nov. 6 and continues until Dec. 3.

The Coast Guard has developed close ties with communities throughout Alaska and understands the resource challenges of living in remote areas. The drive helps meet some of these needs during the holiday season.

Working together with Juneau residents, the Coast Guard hopes to make the holidays a little brighter for some Southeast residents. Gently used coats and blankets and new toys can be dropped off at collection bins at Costco, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Alaskan & Proud market, Nugget Mall and the Juneau Federal Building before Dec. 3.

Perseverance Trail to be closed until Nov. 30

JUNEAU - The city and Trail Mix announced the Perseverance Trail will be closed to public use until Nov. 30.

Hikers, bicyclists and other trail users will not be permitted beyond the first trailhead on Basin Road.

Crews from Channel Construction will continue blasting a new trail in the vicinity of The Horn. Workers also will perform additional grading work and begin installation of a safety rail along extremely exposed areas.

The trail will reopen early if work is completed ahead of schedule.

Trail Mix began work on the Perseverance Trail last fall to replace rotting wood supports with a new trail built directly on bedrock. The project is funded by the Alaska Trails Initiative, with a significant financial contribution from Trail Mix, a nonprofit group overseeing local trail development and repair projects

An auction and dinner to support Trail Mix's work on the Perseverance Trail will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Centennial Hall. Tickets cost $35 for Trail Mix members and $40 for nonmembers. Tickets are available at Hearthside Books or by calling Trail Mix at 790-6406.

No charges filed in fatal dock accident

KETCHIKAN - Charges will not be filed against the driver of an amphibious tour vehicle that fatally struck a California woman walking on a Ketchikan dock.

Myong S. Thayer, 59, had been visiting Ketchikan aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Star when the accident occurred Sept. 17. Thayer was dead by the time authorities arrived at the scene.

The vehicle was owned by Alaska Amphibious Tours. The company operates three amphibious vehicles on the "Ketchikan Duck Tour." Part of the tour occurs in Tongass Narrows, with the amphibious vehicles entering and exiting the narrows at Bar Harbor.

Toxicology samples were taken from Robert Elliot, 39, the driver of the vehicle that struck Thayer. Tests returned recently showed that Elliot's blood was clear of alcohol and drugs, said Deputy Police Chief Josh Dossett.

The investigation results were turned over to the Ketchikan District Attorney's office, which has no plans to file charges, said District Attorney Stephen West.

Utility shelves plans for coal-fired plant

WASILLA - A utility is shelving plans to build a coal-fired power plant because of local opposition and a spike in costs related to building such plants.

Wayne Carmony, general manager of the Matanuska Electric Association, said a law passed by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly in August that regulates new power plants, as well as demand for coal-generated power in China, are to blame.

"Until problems with the borough's ordinance can be addressed and recent spikes in world coal plant prices stabilize, it is imprudent to proceed with construction of the coal portion," Carmony wrote by e-mail Friday to the MEA board of directors.

Companies cooperate on Southwest mine

ANCHORAGE - Two Canadian mining companies that have been haggling in court over a rich gold deposit in Southwest Alaska have agreed to work together on extracting minerals from the area.

NovaGold Resources Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp. said Thursday they plan to drop their legal battle in Anchorage federal court and will cooperate as equal partners in opening up the Donlin Creek mine project.

The resource has the potential to be the state's largest gold mine, producing more than 1 million ounces of gold annually.

Officials with NovaGold, a junior mining company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, told the crowd at the Alaska Miners Association convention that they and Barrick will form a company to develop Donlin.

Woman in courton assault charges

ANCHORAGE - Two women charged with robbing seven elementary school trick-or-treaters as they collected candy in Talkeetna face potentially lengthy prison sentences.

Kendra Butts, 18, who was arrested this week, made her first court appearance on Wednesday.

Magistrate David Zwink told Butts she faces six robbery and seven assault counts and said each robbery count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, with each assault count carrying a maximum of five years.

Alaska State Troopers found the Wasilla woman hiding Tuesday in a crawl space in a Big Lake home. Amber Martin, 20, was arrested Nov. 2 at a traffic stop, according to troopers.

Butts and Martin face identical charges. They are being held at the Mat-Su Pre-Trial Facility in lieu of $75,000 and $50,000 bail, respectively.



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