Coeur applies to build more dorms at Kensington

Coeur Alaska wants to build more employee housing at the Kensington Gold Mine.

On Tuesday, the Juneau Planning Commission reviews Coeur’s application to modify a 2004 allowable use permit, which set conditions for the mine within the city and borough.

In addition to construction of a new three-story, 96-bed dormitory, modifying the permit would allow Coeur to convert two temporary dorms built last year into permanent housing. The result would be permanent on-site housing for 216 employees at the mine, located 45-miles north of Juneau.

Kensington also has 10 trailers on-site, which serve as temporary housing for 64 workers. Five of the trailers will be transitioned to office or storage space, according to a memo from CBJ Planner Beth McKibben.

Kensington Environmental Superintendent Kevin Eppers submitted a letter along with the company’s application to modify the permit. In it he says the new dorm is needed to provide 24-hour coverage, and account for winter weather which may prevent travelling to and from the mine. He also says it will provide for additional local and regional hire.

The company says utilities are already in place at the mine site for the new dormitory.

Employee commuting practices are not expected to change as a result of any new housing. Goldbelt Corporation currently operates 12 round trip buses per week from Engineer’s Cutoff Road to Yankee Cove, about 30 miles north of Juneau. From there a boat takes workers the rest of the way to the mine in Berners Bay.

Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting starts at 7 o’ clock in CBJ Assembly Chambers.

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