August 6, 2013
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Powering the Chuitna coal mine in Cook Inlet. More after this —
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Mining in remote Alaska takes lots of power. The House Special Committee on Energy met to learn about energy needs for five proposed mines in Alaska, including the Chuitna coal strip mine. PacRim Coal has filed for permits covering 10,000 acres on the west side of Cook Inlet across from Anchorage. They aim to strip 300 million tons of coal from the region over 25 years. All of the coal will fuel power plants in Asia. Project manager Dan Graham –
The reason we believe our project is worthy is because we are a resource development state and we think it is a great opportunity to monetize that resource, create jobs and business opportunities in the state. And we have taken great care to design the project in such a way that we can also protect the environment while we do this.
Graham says a large camp will be built to house mine workers, along with a new road and a deep water port facility –
Out on the edge of Cook Inlet we have a proposed port facility on Kenai Peninsula Borough lands, Ladd Landing site, it will contain a coal stockpile and facilities for an offshore loading of deep draft ocean bound ships, we will have an overland conveyor system we are proposing – a minimum of 20 feet off the ground to prevent it from being a barrier to wildlife and recreation users in the area,// we will upgrade and use an existing six mile road system for mine access up , then have a private mine road for the remainder of the distance, then five or six miles of new road construction to the mine.
Graham says initially the coal mine will use 10 megawatts of power at peak loads, and 17-20 megawatts at full operation.
For receiving that power there is an existing line that Chugach Electric operates that runs right through the port site. We will use that for our construction power and a temporary camp at the start of operation. Up at the mine site when we begin construction we will install portable generators for the construction phase till the permanent power can be brought in from the port site. Once we get near the end of construction, Chugach electric – we have been in discussions with them – we are only six miles from the Beluga power station which is a 385 megawatt generating source.
The 12 mile, partially covered conveyor belt and shore side coal storage facility would be built atop several longtime salmon set net sites.
The coal project would discharge on average 7 million gallons of mine waste and runoff into the Chuitna River every day. Graham says PacRim has submitted updated environmental impact documents and is ready to move forward.
Depending on what those decisions are on the permits and what the market conditions at the time, we will be at a point to make a construction decisions.
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