JUNEAU, Alaska – The company developing the Kensington mine near Juneau has discovered a new vein of gold.
Drill tests conducted at the end of last year revealed the new vein. The discovery could develop into a major gold system, Donald Birak, Coeur d’Alene Mines’ vice president for exploration, said Wednesday. Idaho-based Coeur d’Alene Mines is developing the mine.
The tests represent a first phase of drilling. More work needs to be done before the company can say how much additional gold the mine might produce.
The mine 45 miles northwest of Juneau was thought to have 1.5 million ounces of gold reserves and an initial life of 12 1/2 years.
Coeur’s new drill tests showed eight of 14 core holes intersected “very significant gold mineralization,” the company said, with assays ranging from 0.144 ounces per ton to more than 1.29 ounces per ton.
Tom Crafford, the state’s large mine coordinator, said the numbers are fairly impressive.
Development of the mine stalled after Coeur’s plan to dispose of mining waste in Slate Lake was challenged in court. The mine was allowed to proceed after the U.S. Supreme Court gave it the go-ahead. A tailings facility currently is under construction.
Production at Kensington is expected to begin later this year. The mine estimates production at 120,000 ounces of gold annually. The mine is expected to employ up to 300 during remaining construction and about 200 during operations.
Gold was selling Wednesday for $1,108 an ounce.
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