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BLM takes a step on Ambler Road

 

Last updated 1/18/2018 at 7:37pm



The Bureau of Land Management Feb. 28 opened a 90-day public scoping period for the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Road, a proposed 211-mile road that would run west from the Dalton Highway along the southern foothills of the Brooks Range to the Ambler Mining District.

If built, this road would provide surface access to the Upper Kobuk Minerals Project, a large high-grade copper district being explored under a partnership between Trilogy Metals and NANA Regional Corp. According to the latest resource calculations, the Arctic and Bornite deposits at UKMP together host roughly 8.4 billion pounds of copper; 2.6 billion lbs of zinc; 610,000 oz of gold; 45.3 million oz of silver; as well as significant quantities of lead and cobalt.

Trilogy sees the potential for synergies for staged development of Arctic and Bornite, which are about 16 miles apart, and is studying the economics of various scenarios for developing these neighboring world-class deposits.

Arctic, a high-grade volcanogenic massive sulfide copper-zinc-lead-gold-silver deposit, is slated to be developed into a mine first.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority submitted an application with BLM, National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for rights-of-way, permits, and related authorizations for the proposed Ambler Road project.

BLM said development of the road would facilitate resource development and economic opportunities for the state of Alaska.

Because approximately 26 miles of the proposed road would pass through a conservation system unit, the Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, the entire application process is subject to provisions of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

In addition to the preserve, the road would extend across state and Alaska Native corporation lands, as well as 24 miles of isolated BLM-managed parcels.

BLM Alaska will lead the analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act, working cooperatively with other state and federal agencies.

A 90-day public scoping period began with publication of BLM's Feb. 28 notice of intent in the Federal Register.

The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of an environmental impact statement for the Ambler Road project, including proposed alternatives, and to guide the EIS process.

-SHANE LASLEY

 

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