Pogo Mine sold by Sumitomo

Australia-based Northern Star Resources Ltd. is purchasing the producing Pogo gold mine east of Fairbanks from Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. and Sumitomo Corp., two Japanese companies that developed and owned the mine. A sales price of $260 million was confirmed. The deal is expected to close in October. Pogo has been a very successful undertaking, overcoming obstacles in developing an underground mine in a remote location north of Delta in 2006. The mine produces about 300,000 ounces of gold yearly, a total of 3.6 million ounces since production began. An expansion program to tap nearby discovered gold resources is expected to allow Pogo to continue its current production for an extended period. The mine employs about 320 staff directly along with about 150 contractors.

Pebble opponents cry foul

Groups fighting the proposed Pebble mine said a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report on comments from a series of public “scoping” meetings was inadequate in presenting comments against the project. Pro-mining groups complimented the corps. The Alaska Miners Association said the agency indicated “a willingness to listen” by allowing 90 days for the meetings and follow-on comments instead of the 30 days usually allowed for scoping sessions. The corps is working on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for Pebble, based on the company’s amended application for permits. The original application was made last December.

The corps also published 50 requests for more information it has made to Pebble Partnership, developer of the proposed mine. The requests and the corps’ answers are on the Corps’ Pebble project website. Pebble is 200 miles southwest of Anchorage near Lake Iliamna. The project is controversial because it is located in a sensitive area where there could be impacts on salmon-bearing river systems.

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