January 9, 2012
Mr. Russell Kirkham, Coal Regulatory Program Manager
State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining, Land & Water
550 W 7th Ave Suite 920
Anchorage, AK 99501-3577
Dear Mr. Kirkham:
The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) writes to express its support for application number S-0606 submitted by Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc., to conduct surface coal mining activity at the Jumbo Dome Mine.
RDC is a statewide business association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, tourism and fisheries industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native Corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.
Located in the Healy Coal field, the proposed Jumbo Dome Mine sits on State land approximately nine miles north of two of Usibelli’s existing mines, Two Bull Ridge and Poker Flats. Since 1974, numerous exploration programs have been conducted at Jumbo Dome, and resulting information has concluded 83 million tons of proven and probable reserves.
Usibelli Coal Mine’s existing operations are located within eight miles of the Denali National Park boundary. The Park, preserved since 1917, and the mines have co-existed for over 70 years. The Park and mines are a perfect example of how two very differently operating entities can be successful with balanced, effective oversight.
As you are aware, the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) enforces stringent regulations overseeing mining activities statewide that effectively protect the environment, wildlife, and human health. The Jumbo Dome application closely follows these regulations. Usibelli holds an outstanding record for operating mines in Alaska, and began instituting reclamation efforts before it was required by law to do so.
The Jumbo Dome Mine will sustain Usibelli’s current workforce of 130 year-round employees. The six Interior coal customers supplied by Usibelli include the University of Alaska, Golden Valley Electric, Aurora Energy, and the Ft. Wainwright, Eielson, and Clear military installations. Current coal reserves do not meet the needs of these customers; therefore, Jumbo Dome must be permitted as soon as practicable.
Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.