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Historically, development and ore production occurred at the Kensington mine site from 1897 through 1938. The adjacent Jualin project was discovered in 1895 and operated from 1896 to 1928. All told, both mines produced 40,513 ounces of gold from 75,208 tons of ore. More recent exploration activity has taken place during the 1980s and 1990s.
The Kensington Gold Project now encompasses and includes both the Kensington and Jualin prospects. The Kensington Gold Project is located on federal land overseen by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), on State of Alaska tidelands, and on private patented property.
In July of 1992, the USFS approved a Plan of Operations for the Kensington Gold Project. The plan called for underground mining; ore process, including onsite cyanidation; a tailings impoundment; marine discharge of process wastewater; and various support facilities, including the use of liquefied petroleum gas for power generation.
In August 1997, the USFS approved a revised Plan of Operation for the Kensington Gold Project. The modified plan called for offsite processing of floatation concentrates; placement of tailings in a dry tailings facility accessed through a pipeline, with 25% of tailings to be paste backfilled in the underground workings; diesel fuel would be used for power generation; and tailing slurry would be piped to a dewatering plant and the reclaimed water returned for reuse.
In November 2001, Coeur Alaska, Inc. (Coeur) submitted an amendment to its approved 1998 Plan of Operations to the USFS. The amendment modified site access and eliminated the dry tailings facility in favor of placing the tailings into an impoundment in Lower Slate Lake. In December of 2004, the USFS finalized the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and issued the Record of Decision for the modified Kensington project.