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Kinross Fort Knox holds groundbreaking ceremony for new mine

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 4:49 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Kinross Fort Knox broke ground on Thursday, September 23, inaugurating work on its new mine.

Anna Atchison, External Affairs Manager with Kinross Alaska, said, “It’s pretty cold out here today, but it’s a very exciting day for us today and we’re celebrating along with a lot of community members.”

Fort Knox gold mine cut the ribbon on the new “Gil” mine, nine miles east of its mill. “Very cool to be able to celebrate this with former explorers on the project, as well as current employees,” Atchison said, adding, “Lots of partners from the university to elected officials.”

Up hard roads, dozens of people flocked to a nearby overlook for the ceremony, including Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce representatives and Governor Mike Dunleavy. “This is my first trip to Fort Knox, and it’s been fascinating,” Dunleavy said. “It’s a very large mine, very large operation, and met a lot of great people, a lot of folks here that live in Fairbanks and work here.”

The new mine is expected to last two years and create 80 to 100 jobs. “Most importantly for us, it means continuing being able to be present in the community,” Atchison said. “For us, it just means we get to continue to employ a lot of local Fairbanksans and Alaskans, and of course as it is with any mining project, it also means additional taxes and revenue for the local borough as well as the state.”

Dunleavy praised the new mine, saying, “It’s the opportunity for our kids, potentially, to stay here in Alaska and partake in a sector of the economy, an industry that literally builds the world, builds the United States, builds Alaska, and creates family-wage type of jobs.”

And the event ended with a demolition which was more than ceremonial. “This was truly the first blast,” Atchison said, adding, “It wasn’t just the ceremonial blast, [but] truly the first blast for us to actually go after the rock - so that was also very exciting because sometimes it might just be the ceremonial first blast. So today we had the ribbon cutting and then the first blast to truly kick off the project.”

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