Interior Gold Mine Wins DNR Reclamation Award at Miners’ Convention
ANCHORAGE—Alaska Department of Natural Resources awarded its 2019 Excellent Mine Reclamation Award to Ajax Mining Alaska Inc., a Fortymile mining district placer gold operation, in recognition of its successful continuous reclamation practices.
Commissioner Corri Feige presented the annual award to Ajax owner Kim Ferguson, at the Alaska Miners Association convention in Anchorage. She made the presentation following her lunchtime address, “Alaska’s mining industry – An iconic past; a Brilliant Future.”
“Your mining and reclamation activities in the area is a fine example of utilizing, developing, and maintaining resources all while adhering to the principles of sustained yield and proper stewardship,” Feige said in her letter informing Ferguson of the award. “(DNR) wishes to thank you for your responsible custodianship of Alaska’s resources and congratulate you as a most deserving recipient of this award.”
Ajax has been mining within the Walker Fork drainage since 2008 and has worked hard to promote the stability and re-growth of established native vegetation, exerting significant effort to restore mined land to back into the surrounding valley.
Ajax operators strip off the active layer to the edge of the cut, and, after the permafrost layer melts, it is stockpiled along the valley edge. A floating wash plant moves back and forth within the mining cut, processing pay gravel and leaving behind small piles that can be quickly bulldozed to recontour the valley floor. They cover this with retained topsoil, creating a rough ground texture that helps plants grow, and retains water. The mine also does an excellent job on stream reclamation, including creation of wetlands and berms in the floodplain to address high water events and effectively encourage revegetation.
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When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.