Ucore eying rare earth ore mine in Alaska

Brian Ethridge

August 28, 2014

UcoreLogo_WebsiteUcore, a Canadian company, is moving forward with plans for a new mine at the end of Kendrick Bay on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. The company recently sent a crew to the site to study the area and sample rock.

In order for Ucore to mine the site, it will have to answer several questions from investors and government officials. Many people have concerns after the collapse of a dam holding toxic mining waste in British Columbia. The breach at the Mt. Polley Mine spilled millions of gallons of waste into pristine forest and waters.

Ucore director of environment Randy MacGillivray is optimistic the company will obtain the proper permits to mine the site. If Ucore is allowed to work at the site, its tailings would be pumped back underground as it was being extracted.

“That’s one thing about this project,” MacGillivray said. “With an underground mine, no tailings dam and backfilling a third of the rock again back underground, we’re going to have a very small footprint here.”

Ucore would have plans to pull 3,300 tons per day from the mine. The ore would be milled at the site, and the leftover rock and tailings wouldn’t be above ground for more than a few days.

The company is spending millions of dollars to study the area. Recently Ucore sent a 26-man crew to the site o run drills, sample rock and study ground water to satisfy both economic and environmental studies of their claim. Ucore believes the site has millions of tons of rare earth ore.

Ucore would need at least $221 million for the project. It claims the value of the mine site is $577 million and estimates the operation would employ around 190 people.

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