Queens Bench mining area

Arctic Gold seeks permits for Queen’s Bench gold mine

Arctic Gold Mining  LLC has plans to begin mining once permits are in place, as early as November, a 46-acre area at their Queen’s Bench property, south of the city’s Monofil and north of the communal dog lots, near Center Creek Road.
The Army Corps of Engineers has sent out public notices to a select few announcing a public comment period for a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit, that would allow Arctic Gold to “discharge 105,000 cubic yards of topsoil, 857,000 to 1,221,500 cubic yards of overburden and 270,000 yards of pay material into 46.6 acres of waters of the U.S.,” according to the Army Corps documents.
The project site is classified as emergent wetlands, hence the need for a ACE permit. The permit application states that no streams will be impacted and that construction would be at least 550 feet away from Center Creek, the nearest waterbody.
Arctic Gold General Manager Cecil Connor said that the project is limited to be one pit, to be mined and reclaimed in a two-year period. He said mining would be done by mechanical means, and no blasting, as has been done in the past at the company’s Airport Mining project.
If permits are in place for the Queen’s Bench project, and the Arctic Gold board makes the decision to go forward with the project, mining could start as early as November with land clearing of 24 acres, removing and stockpiling topsoil. Mining plans say that about 11.3 acres would become the mining pit and 11.6 acres would be used to stockpile material. Mining operations are slated for the winter in order to create a “mud-free zone”, documents say.
The stockpiled pay material would be processed at a wash plant onsite beginning May 2018 and waste material would be discharged back into the pit. The permit application states that mining would be completed by February 2019 and the land to be reclaimed. It also says that 70,000 cubic yards of gravel would be stored on a mine access road for future sales.
Connor said that a modified application for a state permit to mine in Alaska, the so-called APMA permit, has been approved. A state permit from the Dept. of Natural Resources for temporary water withdrawal from Center Creek is still pending. Permits from the Dept. of Environmental Conservation for water discharge and from the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game have been approved.
Connor said that they are currently determining if the project is financially productive. “We’re studying right now the numbers and looking for ways to bring production costs down,” he said. The project could yield 8,000 ounces of gold, but in order to break even or turn a profit, costs must come down. The Arctic Gold board will make a decision in the coming months, Connor said.
Arctic Gold continues its Airport Mining project west of the airport and is deploying more exploration drills in the coming week to determine if the mine could extend north, if they find more gold in the core samples.
The public comment period for the Army Corps of Engineers permit is October 2. According to Connor, Arctic Gold is contemplating a public meeting, but have commit to organizing one.
For more information contact the US Army Corps of Engineers at 1-800-478-2712 or email leslie.w.tose@usace.army.mil


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