POA 1 Project Summary

Coeur Alaska proposed an amendment to its Plan of Operations (POA 1) to increase tailings and waste rock storage capacity to reflect positive exploration results, improved metal prices, and ongoing operational efficiencies. POA 1 was analyzed in a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Project documents and public comments are available for review online on the USFS’ project webpage.

 

The USFS completed its public scoping process with the release of the Final Scoping Summary Report in January 2020.  The purpose of this collaborative, public process was to receive meaningful input and to determine the scope of issues to be assessed in a proposed action implementing a land and resource management amendment. The Draft DSEIS was released for public comment period by the USFS in October 2020. The public comment period for the DSEIS was extended from December 14, 2020 to January 4, 2021 to allow the public additional time to comment after a virtual public meeting was held on December 10, 2020. The Final SEIS and the draft Record of Decision were released July 9, 2021. In the Final SEIS and draft ROD the USFS identified POA 1 as the selected alternative.

 

POA 1 will allow Coeur Alaska to continue to be a major Southeast employer and provide high paying jobs and economic diversity in our region. The estimated construction program will generate direct and indirect economic impacts over a two-year construction period with planned direct employment of about 65 workers earning $6.8M in total wages each year of construction. 

For more information on POA 1, click here:

What is POA 1?

 

The proposed POA 1 is a continuation of the safe, reliable, and proven mining practices the Kensington mine has been advancing since production began in July 2010. The following factors were taken into consideration when designing POA 1:

  • Uses existing infrastructure and minimizes disturbance

  • Provides a net benefit for fish and wildlife by creating more aquatic habitat

  • Maintains or improves aesthetics

  • Minimizes the carbon footprint

 

The proposal to expand the disturbance area authorized under the USFS approved 2005 Plan of Operations (239 acres) by approximately 150 acres and achieve a life of mine extension of about 10 years includes the following main elements:

 

  • Construction of a Stage 4 raise of the existing Tailings Treatment Facility (TTF),  including a causeway between the TTF and Upper Slate Lake (USL) to increase tailings storage capacity;

  • Continuing to backfill approximately 40% of the total tailings produced;

  • Relocation of components of the seepage collection system (sumps, access road, powerline, pipelines, and storm water diversion channels);

  • Expansion of three existing Waste Rock Stockpiles (WRSs) to provide additional capacity (Kensington, Pit #4, and Comet WRS);

  • Construction of one additional WRS (Pipeline Road WRS);

  • Enhance Dolly Varden char spawning habitat through the construction of two deltas, construction of a new stream to reroute Fat Rat Creek into South Creek, construction of approximately 0.6 miles of new temporary access roads to the two proposed deltas that would be constructed as part of the proposed fish enhancement, and replacement of three culverts to provide fish passage;

  • Construction of 1.7 miles of new access road (Spillway, Back Dam, Fat Rat Diversion, and Upper Slake Creek Delta Access Roads)

 

Once the mine has reached the end of its life, the following reclamation and closure efforts are planned under POA 1:

  • No water will be discharged into Slate Creek from the TTF until state water quality standards are met

  • 26 acres of upland will be converted to open water benefiting fish and wildlife

  • Tailings will be covered by 28 feet of water to support benthic and fish populations

  • Measures will be implemented to re-establish benthic and fish populations in the TTF; documented macroinvertebrate and Dolly Varden char seed sources around the TTF are considered sufficient to meet the reclamation goal of re-established benthic and fish populations without intervention

  • WRS will be contoured and revegetated to match existing mountainous landscape

Please note that slight modifications have been made to the proposal since the development of this video and are included in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS). Please refer to the FSEIS for the most current information.