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By Sarah Hurst
For Mining News 

Nixon Fork to follow Pogo into production

Exploration Manager William Burnett gets promoted to mine manager as construction begins at historic property in western Alaska


Last updated 6/25/2006 at Noon

Construction is under way at Alaska's Nixon Fork gold mine near McGrath, and the underground mine should be in production later this summer. Ontario-based St. Andrew Goldfields recently received the state and federal permits necessary to recommence mining at Nixon Fork, which has been closed for several years. St. Andrew is the latest in a series of companies that have operated in the area since 1919.

In June St. Andrew announced that it had appointed William Burnett mine manager for Nixon Fork. Burnett has been exploration manager for St. Andrew's Alaska subsidiary, Mystery Creek Resources, since 2003. Mystery Creek Resources was formed specifically to bring Nixon Fork into production. Burnett, who lives in Wasilla, oversaw a 28,000-meter, multi-year surface and underground exploration program to extend Nixon Fork's resource base. He was mine geologist and chief geologist at Nixon Fork from 1995 to 1999.

20,000 ounces of production this year

St. Andrew aims to produce approximately 20,000 ounces of gold in 2006, and subsequently 45,000 ounces of gold per year. The company also intends to reprocess 116,000 metric tons of tailings from previous operations grading 0.26 ounces per ton in the summer of 2007 and 2008.

Nixon Fork will probably employ between 50 and 58 people when mining begins in late July or early August, Burnett told Mining News. The company is trying to hire locally, but it is difficult to find skilled people in this remote part of the state, and most of the skilled workers are coming from Anchorage and other population hubs. If all goes well, the mine should be in full production by September, Burnett said. "Everything's worked out real nicely for what we're trying to do this year," he added.

Several Alaska contractors are helping to get the Nixon Fork project off the ground. Precision Power is providing electrical systems and Alaska Mechanical will be working on concrete and buildings. Freight is being delivered to the site by Lynden Air Cargo, Brooks Fuel and Northern Air Cargo.


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