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Interior Gold Mine Wins DNR Reclamation Award at Miners’ Convention

Nov 7, 2019 | Mining, News

Alaska DNR

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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Following a year when metal prices were both up and down—sometimes dramatically; when international trade squabbles spooked investors to both enter and exit the metals markets; and when mining companies started the year cautiously bullish but ended it cautious bearish, those involved in Alaska mineral exploration, development, and production are once again asking themselves: “Where did we succeed, where did we fail, and where do we go from here?”

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