Protesters told to leave safety event
Big rig attracts demonstration at safety fair
About 50 protesters came to a children’s safety fair in Fairbanks on Saturday to demonstrate around a new 95-foot-long ore-hauling truck. The Emergency Preparedness and Youth Safety Day at the Carlson Center, was sponsored by the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the gold-mining company, Kinross, Alaska. The new ore-hauling truck was the centerpiece of the event. It is one of the first delivered to Black Gold Express, the contractor hired to transport gold ore from the Manh Choh mine near Tetlin, 247 miles north on the Alaska, Richardson and Steese highways to the Ft. Knox Gold mill near Fox.
Protestors are concerned that the trucks are more dangerous than commercial vehicles already using the highway corridor, and will be traveling too frequently, leaving the mine 60 times per day.
Protestors were generally quiet and did not disrupt the safety fair, but the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported that the Fairbanks North Star Borough, which owns and manages the Carlson Center requested Fairbanks Police officers remove people near where the massive Kinross truck was parked, according to Fairbanks City spokesperson. At least five FPD officers, and FPD Deputy Chief Richard Sweet responded to the parking lot and told protesters to move to the sidewalk across the street.
Kinross announced the trucks may look similar to other trucks on the road already but they have artificial intelligence programs and other high-tech features like heated taillights for winter, cabin cameras for monitoring drivers, and modernized braking systems. They are heavier and longer than most commercial trucks on Alaska highways.
Black Gold will be making trial runs from the mine later this fall, as more trucks will be delivered. The mine has planned a gradual ramp-up through 2024.