PUBLISHED: 5:24 PM on Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Coeur Alaska a step closer to tailings facility
Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation said on May 9 that the U.S. Forest Service has evaluated public and agency comments submitted on the Draft Supplemental Information Report for the Kensington Gold Mine in Alaska. Based on the responses and agency input, the Forest Service has announced that an Environmental Assessment (EA) is the preferred level of review, which could allow for a conclusion of permitting for an alternative tailings facility later this year. Construction of the mine and mill is essentially completed except for the tailings facility.

"Coeur is now confident the environmental review process can be completed in 2008, allowing Kensington to be brought into production in 2009," said Chairman Dennis E. Wheeler, president and chief executive officer of Coeur.

The draft Supplemental Information Report (SIR) prepared by the Forest Service supported the technical soundness of the paste tailings plan. The site selected for constructing the paste tailings facility in the Modified Plan of Operation is the same site as was studied for locating the dry tailings facility earlier, but is smaller and involves less area disturbance. It also requires less energy than the dry tailings facility. A Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was prepared for a dry tailings facility at the same site in 1997.

In a separate press release issued last week, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council indicated their support for the paste tailings plan as a preferred alternative over the dry tailings facility. Coeur and SEACC collaborated in developing the new plan. The plan, supported by over 900 studies, includes an environmental monitoring component and extensive reclamation requirements.