Friends of the First Things First Alaska Foundation were asked to testify before the AJ Mine Advisory Committee on April 21, 2011. Thank you to those of you who took the time to attend the public hearing and those of you who sent your comments in by e-mail.
Suggested Talking Points
- The AJ Mine Advisory Committee recommendation should wholeheartedly support the promotion of a mine reopening.
- AJ and other Juneau mines built Juneau and the city is a wonderful place because of it.
The AJ is estimated to hold at least 780,000 ounces of gold. At $1400/ounce, that’s over one billion dollars gross value.
- Juneau citizens will benefit with job opportunities (the average mining wage in Juneau is approximately $80,000 compared with the average State of Alaska wage of approximately $40,000). These benefits extend outward in the community as these workers buy homes, pay taxes, shop in local stores, etc.
- The CBJ stands to collect significant revenue in the form royalty payments (as land owner), taxes and other fees, which benefit all residents.
- The priority should be to attract a viable mine developer. Pre-conditions should not be established by the advisory committee.
- Mine development should not be limited to one scenario (entirely underground) in the event a preferable method is later identified.
- Drinking water, wastewater treatment, mine drainage, economics, energy, traffic, noise, lights, hiring and recreation are permit issues and should be addressed under the permitting process.
- The modern permitting process offers environmental and other important safeguards and should be respected.
Committee discussion has focused on the Gold Creek water supply. Suggestions have been made that the water supply may not currently be as reliable as citizens have been led to believe.
- If this is true, CBJ has the responsibility for ensuring a safe supply and should undertake sufficient measures to do so regardless of any development projects.
- CBJ could improve Salmon Creek into a year-round water supply independent of any activity at the AJ mine.
Requiring the AJ project to assume the large financial burdens will only weaken the ability to attract a developer.
More information on the work undertaken by the AJ Mine Advisory Committee can be found at:www.juneau.org/engineering/AJ_MINE/index.php