FAIRBANKS (AP) Fairbanks Gold Mining is exploring a field six miles northeast of its Fort Knox Mine and mill.
The field is turning out to be a less controversial venture than a proposed project at Ester Dome's Ryan Lode site, Fairbanks Gold General Manager Rick Dye said Thursday. The proposed Ryan Lode project has upset some Ester residents who say it would be too close to their homes.
The Gil project would likely require a roughly six-mile road, but the roadway would not pass near any residential areas.
We see it as a very permittable project and it's high on our list right now, but we have no idea what it's going to come to,'' Dye told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
The company is focusing on drilling about 60 exploratory holes to gauge the amount of gold in the site. If results are promising, Fairbanks Gold would still conduct a second phase of exploration.
If the company opts to mine, the permitting process could take about 18 months.
The first phase of exploration on the Gil project tentatively could last until mid-to-late summer.
Mara Bacsujlaky, mining coordinator for the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, said the organization would like to see an environmental impact statement considering the effect of multiple satellite mines being fed into the Fort Knox mill.
The processed ore is contained in a special storage unit called a tailings impoundment. The existing equipment at Fort Knox was not designed to hold the amount and variety of ore that could come from several different satellite mines, Bacsujlaky said.
Fairbanks Gold is a subsidiary of Toronto-based Kinross Gold Corp. The Gil project is a joint venture between Kinross and Vancouver-based Teryl Resources Corp. The companies share the revenue and expenses of the project, with Kinross holding an 80 percent share and Teryl at 20 percent.
The companies are spending about $830,000 on the first phase of exploration.
Ore from a satellite mine, True North Mine, is trucked about 12 miles to the mill to be processed and supplements the amount of gold produced from the Fort Knox pit. The True North field is expected to be exhausted by 2005, so Fairbanks Gold is looking for other areas to mine to help keep up production.
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