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Is the Kinross/Contango ore haul safe? No one knows.

  • Updated

Recent attention has been focused on the Kinross/Contango plan to open two new mines near Tetlin, Alaska.

Their ore handling plan calls for using Alaska’s public highways to haul ore from Tetlin to Fort Knox for processing. This proposal requires transporting 9.6 million pounds of 1-foot to 2-foot boulders over 240 miles utilizing 120-foot ore-hauling trucks, each weighing 80 tons. Kinross/Contango plans to load four trucks per hour at the mine, or one every 15 minutes, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 360 days a year, resulting in 192 one-way trips per day (69,120 per year) for decades. This means that a truck coming north or going south will pass any point along the 240-mile route every 7½ minutes or an automobile traveler will encounter an ore hauler every five miles. These trucks will travel the ALCAN, the Richardson, Mitchell Expressway, then Peger Road and the Johansen Expressway to the Steese Highway on the way up to Fort Knox.

Gary Wilken is a 66-year resident of Fairbanks, a retired small businessman, father, grandfather and a recovering public servant who proudly represented Fairbanks and Fort Wainwright for 12 years in the Alaska State Senate.

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