Government Accountability Office said 161,000 abandoned hard-rock mine
sites dot 12 Western states and Alaska.
That permitting effort at Red Dog has continued in earnest this year, even through market prices for the base metals produced at the remote hard-rock mine
have remained lower than past years.
In a reconstruction of a hard-rock mine
, they fire up noisy hammer drills to punch holes in granite boulders (the noise is deafening).
After 15 years of exploration at the remote Donlin Creek gold project in southwest Alaska, property owners have put together an open-pit, hard-rock mine
proposal backed by a feasibility study indicating low cash costs to produce more than a million ounces of gold annually, while providing up to 800 year-round jobs.
Back then, amid dropping gold and copper prices, the mine was put into care and maintenance by operator Real del Monte Mining Corp., which had acquired Nixon Fork the previous year from Nevada Consolidated, a company that first opened the hard-rock mine
And now, after spending about $50 million in the last three years on the exploration property, Pogo's operators have taken the leap-submitting to state and federal agencies a plan to build and operate a hard-rock mine
at the deposit, located 38 miles northeast of Delta Junction.
The large mining companies such as Kinross Gold Corp., which owns the huge Fort Knox hard-rock mine
near Fairbanks, have deeper pockets and more flexibility to deal with reduced prices.
employment also increased during the year due to increased production at Red Dog and Greens Creek mines, and the commissioning of the Fort Knox and Illinois Creek mines.
The company's focus remains the development of the group's highly-prospective, hard-rock mines
in the Amur Region.