Manh Choh mining project kicks off with ceremonial ground breaking

Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 10:59 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Manh Choh mining project symbolically kicked off on Tuesday, August 29, with a ceremonial ground breaking ceremony.

The mine, located near the community of Tetlin southeast of Tok, has garnered some controversy since its inception.

Much of the disagreement stems from the plan for transporting ore from the mine to a Kinross Fort Knox processing facility north of Fairbanks, with some in the borough citing potential safety issues for residents and commuters, including school buses, along the route.

In its current state, the plan involves large vehicles, 95 feet in length, traveling a route that includes the Richardson Highway, Peger Road, the Johansen Expressway, and Steese Highway.

A protest was held Saturday, where citizens raised a variety of concerns, including the chemical makeup of the materials being hauled, and the possibility of seeing a 16-wheeler in Fairbanks traffic.

According to Kinross, some aspects of mining have already begun, and ore hauling could begin as early as October.

Brenna Schaake, External Affairs Supervisor with Kinross, discussed the ceremony, saying, “Today’s groundbreaking really signifies the partnership, not only with Manh Choh and the village of Tetlin and our joint-venture partner Contango Ore, but with the greater communities that we are working in and partnering with. So today was really a celebration of that partnership; the job opportunities and the economic boost that’s going to be coming to these areas.”

Attendees at the event included State Representative Mike Cronk and Governor Mike Dunleavy. The project could start trial runs across its route, using empty vehicles, as early as late September.