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Kinross returns mine land, near Fairbanks, to State after reclamation process

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 4:48 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Kinross Gold Corporation, which owns the Fort Knox gold mine north of Fairbanks, has finalized the reclamation process for the nearby True North mine.

The mine was operational from 2001 until 2004 during which time it produced just under 500,000 thousand ounces of gold. In 2008 Kinross decided not to mine the area anymore and began the reclamation process.

According to Bartly Kleven, the environmental manager for Fort Knox, reclamation is the process of returning a mining site back to its former state before it was mined. She said that all mine operations are required to have a reclamation plan before they begin activity.

In 2011 the mine completed a regrade which returns the land to the correct slope. In 2014 they were able to revegetate the area with underbrush and trees. Part of the mining process including leaving the area for five years to ensure that it would last. After that was over in 2019, they applied for the final release which was approved earlier this month.

“We fulfilled all the requirements. The State agreed that we had been in good compliance with our reclamation plan, we had achieved our goals, and now we applied for final release and the State agreed that that is appropriate, and that we have done what we needed to do," Kleven said.

With final release completed, Kleven said the land has officially been returned to the state for future public use.

She said that when they have extracted all the gold from the Fort Knox mine, it will undergo a similar process to return the land back to the State of Alaska. This will allow the land that Fort Knox is on to be used for recreation or wildlife habitat.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources sent a press release out Tuesday praising the reclamation process, “True North is one of the first – and the largest – modern hard rock mines on state land where operators have completed their work, the State has accepted the operator’s request to relinquish the land, and the land has been returned to the State for management consistent with current land use plans,” the release read.

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