Newmont to cleanup former uranium mine to pave the way for rare earths project
|Former Ross-Adams uranium mine, Alaska. Image credit: U.S. Forest Service.|
(Kitco News) - KRBD-FM reported yesterday that the US Forest Service has reached an agreement with Colorado-based Newmont to permanently seal the former Ross-Adams uranium mine in Alaska's Tongass National Forest on Prince of Wales Island.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says the Forest Service should be involving other agencies in the long-term monitoring of the site.
The Cold War-era Ross-Adams mine hasn’t produced uranium for nearly 50 years, but state regulators have been working to have the radioactive site on Prince of Wales Island cleaned up since the 1990s.
This fall the U.S. Forest Service finalized a plan for Newmont to seal the former mine with concrete and haul away abandoned buildings.
Impetus for this project comes from a separate mineral exploration effort about a mile away from the Prince of Wales site.
Canada’s Ucore has been investing in rare earths exploration on Bokan Mountain. Cleaning up the radioactive waste will be key for the mining company to access Kendrick Bay where material and equipment is hauled in and out by barge.
The rare earths project is designed to mine for minerals used in high tech products like smartphones and flat-screen televisions. The Trump administration has made domestic production of these resources a national security priority.