Testimony to the AJ Mine Advisory Committee

April 21, 2011

AJ Mine Advisory Committee

First Things First Alaska Foundation thanks each member of the AJ Mine Committee for your commitment to serving the best interest of the residents of the City and Borough of Juneau. Re-opening the Alaska-Juneau Gold Mine is an exciting prospect that would both honor the history of our city as well as provide valuable benefits for our future.
As you have already learned, over one billion dollars in gross value of gold is estimated to be simply waiting for extraction. A portion of that money could be going toward paying good wages to many Juneauites working in a reopened mine. Furthermore, all residents can benefit from the additional city revenue received in royalties and taxes. As other revenue sources decline (i.e. reduced federal funding, and government jobs moving out of the capital city,) pursuing this opportunity is a fiscally responsible undertaking.
You were tasked with suggesting conditions under which the CBJ could promote the mine. Please don’t interpret this charge to mean that you as a group are solely responsible for establishing premature stipulations. Such cumbersome prerequisites will only serve to hamper the attraction of a viable mine developer. Please do not restrict development to one scenario (that is, all activity occurring underground,) as preferable methods may be identified as experts study the project. Issues such as traffic and light mitigation would be better addressed as the particulars of the project become better formulated. Guaranteeing a safe water supply is a city responsibility that should be addressed as such, not passed along to a yet-to-be identified outside entity. Your work has found that regardless of a mine project, the Gold Creek water supply may less reliable than citizens have been led to believe and if this is in fact the case, measures for improvement to other sites, such as Salmon Creek, may be necessary and should be undertaken independently by the CBJ.
We are governed by a modern permitting process that offers far more environmental safeguards than when mining first began at the AJ Mine. We respectfully ask that you allow this process to work as intended and to further a recommendation to Mayor Botelho that the city actively and enthusiastically promote the reopening of the Alaska-Juneau Mine in a manner that emboldens its success.


Neil MacKinnon
First Things First Alaska Foundation