04 July 2007

Timing is Everything

I was intrigued by the timing of DNR's decision to allow cyanide heap-leaching at Fort Knox: late in the afternoon before a holiday. Hmmm... want to shuffle things off the radar screen now, do we?

(Speaking of timing, why is the governor releasing the RFP for a gas pipeline right before a holiday?)

The News-Miner article is - as you would expect - solid and even takes pains to mention how the use of cyanide has become an issue in both Bethel and Nome, which I appreciate.

The Fort Knox application shows one important part of mining: you should never assume the first permit application is the final one. At Rock Creek in Nome, we've been hearing that cyanide vat-leaching is a lot safer than heap-leaching and that's why they picked the former. What happens when Rock Creek ends up with a big pile of low-grade ore? Back to DNR they go, asking for a heap-leaching permit is my guess.

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