July 1, 2010 |

Kensington mine starts production

Miners at the Kensington are producing gold.

"In terms of production, we’re just starting up, but ore is moving through the plant and we’re producing a concentrate," Toby Ebersole, spokesman for mine owner Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp., said this week.

There are 155 Coeur Alaska employees and another 100 workers employed by contractors at the site 50 miles south of Haines, Ebersole said. There are "several" workers from Haines but the exact number can’t be determined, as more may be working for contractors, he said.

Production will be ramping up in the next couple months and the mine should produce 50,000 ounces of concentrate this year, he said. Annual production is expected to average 125,000 ounces. The company plans to have 200 working at the mine during full production, including 30 contractors.

Ebersole said increasing production would take some time. "Everything has to be trouble-shot and fine-tuned until we’re up to producing at the engineered level. It’s all brand new right now."

He said Coeur is "still exploring" a Haines Borough request that overnight housing at the site be provided for local workers. If workers from Haines must live in Juneau to work at the mine, the mine’s benefits are largely lost to the community, some borough leaders have said.

According to the Juneau Empire, employees will work on a rotation schedule of two weeks on and one week off.