New Gold Mine in Alaska Possible

In Dust Control, Mine & Quarry, Surface Management by Jim Silva

Donlin Gold has applied for permits to mine gold along the Kuskokwim River in Alaska, 10 miles from the town of Crooked Creek. The valuable mine will be a major boost for the local economy and will help fuel our ever-growing consumption of gold.

Following more than 20 years of research and exploration, Donlin Gold has submitted applications for permits for a new gold mine along the Kuskokwim River in Alaska, local news station KTUU reports. The proposed mine and its construction will bring jobs to the region in the western part of the state.

The Mine

According to the Donlin Gold proposal, the potential mining site is one of the largest known undeveloped gold deposits in the world, with an estimated 33.8 million ounces waiting to be extracted. NovaGold, which owns the mine equally with Barrick Gold Corporation, has calculated that the value of the project could rise to more than $19 billion. The open pit mine would process 59,000 tons of ore every day.

To power such a massive operation, Donlin Gold is proposing a 14-inch buried natural gas pipeline, rather than barging diesel fuel to the site. Constructing the 300-mile-plus pipeline, coupled with the building of the mine itself, will bring an estimated 3,000 jobs to the Yukon Kuskokwim region. A further 1,200 employees are required to run the mine over its 27-year lifespan.

Gold, It’s Everywhere

In today’s technology-driven world, gold is pervasive as it is valuable, with many essential functions in varied industries, according to Business Insider. Since gold is not toxic, it makes an ideal tool for dentistry, a practice which has been using the element for fillings and crowns for over 3,000 years. It is also used to treat arthritis in the form of gold salt.

Especially relevant is gold’s conductivity — copper and silver are the only elements that conduct electricity more efficiently. Because of its efficiency, gold transmits digital information very quickly and is therefore found in almost all electronic devices, including the smartphones we love so much, as Dell explains. It is similarly used in most desktop and laptop computers’ memory chips and motherboards.

As good as it as at conducting, it is equally proficient at reflecting radiation and heat. NASA uses a gold-coated polyester film on satellites and other spacecraft to protect the vehicles while maintaining proper temperatures. These same protective qualities keep astronauts safe from harmful rays under their helmets’ gold-coated visors.

A Solution for Every Infrastructural Need

Gold’s ubiquity means the potential mine in Alaska is more valuable than ever. To ensure the mine is constructed and subsequently maintained in the most environmentally friendly and efficient manner, Donlin Gold could use the expertise and 40 years of experience of Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. for all its infrastructural needs.

Tailored road and surface stabilization programs can help save time and money on everything from roads to runways, all while protecting the region from dust. Midwest offers proven production road and haul road solutions, all of which are safe for the environment and limit time-consuming maintenance, mitigating surface deterioration, potholes, and washboarding. Midwest’s Fines Preservation™ program for gravel runways lower maintenance costs, improve the running surface, and extend runway lifetime. And their mine tailings management solutions eliminate dust and runoff. When the mine is set to expand, Midwest will be there to keep things running smoothly.

(Image credit: G =]/flickr)

Jim is Midwest’s Business Unit Manager for Global Mining. He is experienced in operations management, asset management, and business improvement.