The company looking to develop a new gold mine near the Eastern Alaska community of Tetlin says exploration of the site has yielded promising results. Kinross Gold, which bought a majority share of the Peak Gold project last September, is now working with communities that would be affected by the project, if the mine is developed. That includes a sharp increase in truck traffic on two highways between Tetlin and Fairbanks.
Kinross Gold spokesperson Anna Atchison says exploration conducted around the mine site since last fall has yielded some promising results.
“We anticipate that this will confirm the economic viability of the project,” she said in a Monday interview, “and based on that, we’re planning for production to start in 2024.”
Atchison says Kinross officials have also gotten feedback, which she says has mainly been positive, from residents of Tetlin and other communities that would be affected by the project.
“We’ve met with dozens of stakeholder groups and individuals in the last few months, including spending time down in Tok regularly,” she said. “People are very excited about the economic boost of the project.”
Toronto-based Kinross has been exploring for gold at the mine and conducting community outreach since soon after it bought a 70 percent share of the project from Houston-based Contango Ore, its partner in what’s now a joint venture. Atchison says Kinross also has met with state transportation officials and trucking industry representatives to work out plans to transport the ore from the proposed mine to the Kinross Fort Knox Mine mill north of Fairbanks.
“We have heard some concerns that there might be a need for more passing lanes or perhaps waysides, which means that people might just be pulling over and taking a break through some of those sections,” she said.
Atchison says those are some of the ideas that’ve been floated to reduce traffic back-ups that might form behind the three to four trucks per hour that Kinross says would be on the road hauling ore over the Alaska Highway to Delta Junction and then the Richardson Highway to Fort Knox, 250 miles away.
“We are working with officials at DOT, and we are listening and we’re taking that into consideration when we design and plan.”
Atchison says Kinross will continue planning and designing the project during the scoping-study phase that’s expected to continue through the end of the year. And she says company officials will hold more meetings with community members and state and federal officials. She says by the end of the year, the company plans to begin the process of seeking permits. And that’s when area residents and others can begin formally weighing-in on the proposed project.