Letter to the editor: Kensington gold mine is a responsible steward of the environment

The Kensington Mine's Comet portal, seen from the air Friday, May 22, 2015. Photo courtesy James Brooks
The Kensington Mine’s Comet portal, seen from the air Friday, May 22, 2015. Photo courtesy James Brooks

Coeur Alaska cares deeply about protecting our people and the environment. On behalf of hundreds of dedicated employees who are committed to doing the right thing, I feel compelled to correct misinformation and respond to recent articles and press releases that paint Kensington in an inaccurate light and do not tell the whole story of Kensington’s environmental performance record.

  • The majority of these alleged violations were several years old and don’t reflect the current operating status of the mine. These alleged violations stemmed from self-reported instances submitted in the monthly and annual reports to state and federal agencies and available to the public online.
  • None of the alleged violations resulted in any significant harm to the environment.
  • State and federal agencies routinely inspect the mine.
  • Every year the state holds a meeting which is open to the public and attended by state and federal agencies and environmental groups to review all compliance records.
  • From the beginning of operations, Kensington has monitored and reported impacts on the environment. The mine has worked with the agencies to adjust operations and best management practices to improve environmental performance.
  • The acid rock drainage referred to by Ms. Bauman and Mr. Archibald, an environmental group employee, was completely contained within an operating industrial facility and there was no external release to the creek. Salmon habitat at Kensington is protected and has never been shown to be impacted in our nine years of operation.
  • The EPA press release exaggerates the number of violations counting one monthly average limit violation, however minor, as 30 or 31 individual daily violations.

Coeur is committed to responsible stewardship and has robust programs to proactively monitor and protect water quality and resources. We are proud of the progress we’ve achieved in our environmental performance record over time and remain committed to continuous improvement.

—Mark Kiessling

General manager, Coeur Alaska Kensington Mine

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