Locals protest Kinross ore haul plan

Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 11:53 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Saturday a group of residents took their voices and their signs to protest Kinross’ plan to use 95 foot long, 165 thousand pound trucks to transport ore along multiple highways in Interior Alaska on a continuous basis.

A 95-foot truck was on display at the Carlson Center over the weekend at the Emergency Preparedness and Youth Safety Day. This is the type of vehicle that will be transporting ore from the Manh Choh mine near Tetlin to a Kinross Fort Knox processing center north of Fairbanks. These trucks will travel multiple times a day along a route that includes the Richardson Highway, Peger Road, Johansen Expressway, and the Steese Highway.

Protesters’ concerns included potential safety issues, the hauling materials, the trucks’ size, and the frequency of daily haul trips.

“It’s no question about it,” one protestor exclaimed, “it’s going to cost us millions of money, of public money, to support this private company. But I don’t care about the money as much as I care about the people who are no doubt gonna die on that road.”

Another protestor argued that the Kinross ore haul project is “a completely irresponsible project that they are doing, and the state has violated its own regulations by allowing public highways to be turned into an industrial haul road without due process and without the proper consultation with consent of the people and the tribes that live on the route.”

Concerns were raised about the large number of school bus stops along the haul route and the possibility of dangerous minerals from the ore getting into the local environment.

Event organizers said that they called police to have the protestors evicted from the property with a trespassing order, saying that the protestors had begun to interfere with the Emergency Preparedness and Youth Safety Day vendors.

Richard Sweet, an officer with the Fairbanks Police Department, said “The concern from the property owners was that people were laying underneath the vehicle, touching the vehicle ... there’s a potential for damage to the vehicle.”

Senator Scott Kawasaki showed up to see if the trucks were as big as he had heard.

“Sixteen axles is something that’s not happened in the state of Alaska,” Kawasaki said. “There’s deep concerns that I have of these types of trucks running through traffic within the city of Fairbanks, the part that I represent.”

In all, about 50 people participated in the protest.