Skagway’s ore terminal will be doing business again after Minto Mine resumed production in the Yukon last month. That will boost the local economy, but it may slow the city’s efforts to clean legacy contamination under the dock.
Pembridge Resources bought the Minto mine this summer. It announced its first revenue this month for the copper-gold-silver mine about 150 miles North of Whitehorse.
Those metals are shipped through the ore terminal in Skagway.
“We’re going to be getting the term off ready to go,” said Skagway resident David Hunz.
“We’re looking at truck in mid-January and possibly a ship mid-March.”
Hunz is the president of Mineral Services Inc. He operates the ore terminal for its owner, Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority (AIDEA).
His warehouses have been empty since March, but he is preparing for delivery trucks to start arriving in next year. He says those Yukon mineral concentrates are going to put local people to work.
“There is a big economic ripple that is good for the community,” he said.
The economic forecast is good, but Mayor Andrew Cremata says an operational ore dock and loader could make it harder to address contamination underneath them. That’s been there for decades.
“As long as there’s any kind of ore shipments going through the port, it’s gonna make it make everything extremely difficult,” he said.
“Because if the conveyor is being used, it stands to reason that [we’re] still not going to be able to access the area beneath it.”
He says a complete clean up would get under the loader, which means removing it. Consultants and state regulators recommended cleaning around the loader, but Cremata said that doesn’t go far enough.
“The community doesn’t want to see a partial plan. They want to see it gone. I mean, it’s lead! Nobody wants to lead in their their waterway,” he said.
A spokesperson for AIDEA said the public corporation is pleased to see the terminal in use, but could not comment on ore dock remediation efforts.
UK-based Pembridge Resources produced almost 2,000 tons of concentrate in the first month of operations. Pembridge said in a statement they expect that to increase as the mine ramps up production.