It's almost spring in the Last Frontier, which means across the state winter-based activities are winding down and exploration, drilling, and construction plans that require warm summer months are ramping up. Below Alaska Business has compiled 2019 updates and 2020 plans for Alaska's operating metal mines, as well as a few future projects currently working on exploration or permitting.
Fort Knox | Kinross
In February Kinross published an update on its development projects, exploration program, and estimated mineral reserves and resources. Kinross owns and operates Fort Knox, an open pit gold mine in the Fairbanks mining district. According to the update, during 2019 a total of 7,300 meters of drilling was completed that mostly focused on the western crest of the pit. "The results were encouraging and resulted in the addition of 229 gold koz [thousand ounces] in measured and indicated resources," the company states. For 2019, proven and probable reserves at Fort Knox are 2,910 gold koz, measured and indicated resources are 2,026 gold koz. and inferred resources are 774 gold koz. In 2019, Fort Knox produced 200,253 ounces of gold, a nearly 22 percent drop from 2018. However, it's expected gold output will increase in 2020, largely due to the Gilmore expansion.
In late 2018 Kinross broke ground on the Gilmore expansion, extending the mine's life for several years. According to Kinross, 'The Fort Knox Gilmore project continues to progress on schedule and on budget, with initial Gilmore ore encountered in Q4 2019 and stacked on the existing Walter Creek heap leach pad. Stripping advanced as planned during the quarter and is expected to continue throughout 2020. Completion of the new Barnes Creek heap leach pad, where 95 percent of Gilmore ore is expected to be stacked, and related pumping and piping infrastructure remains on target for completion in Q4 2020. Procurement for all planned 2020 activities is largely complete and the project is ready to recommence construction activities in the spring."
Also in 2019, a ground gravity survey was completed from Fort Knox to Gil-Sourdough (located approximately seven miles northeast of the Fort Knox pit), the purpose of which was to understand the geological settings of the area for future exploration work.
Greens Creek | Hecla
Greens Creek silver mine is located eighteen miles southwest of Juneau on Admiralty Island. The underground mine is owned and operated by Hecla. According to Hecla, Greens Creek produced 9.9 million ounces of silver and 56,624 ounces of gold in 2019, a record high for the mine since Hecla wholly acquired and began to operate Greens Creek in 2008. It was also a...