Kensington mine back in full operation

Kensington Mill

The Kensington Gold Mine is back in full operation, following a week closure in an area where a miner was killed last week.

Mine owner Coeur Alaska says all underground activities are at full capacity. But according to the Mining Safety and Health Administration, no blasting can be conducted in production stopes until the agency says it’s safe. Stopes are openings – or rooms – created in the process of extracting the gold ore.

MSHA’s preliminary report indicates 30-year-old Joe Tagaban, of Juneau, was struck by rock – initiated by a blast — that flew through a previously drilled hole intersecting the stope where he was working.

Coeur Alaska spokesman Tony Ebersole says blasting activities related to development are continuing and the company is working with MSHA to finalize protocols in production stopes.

The mill is also back in full operation after being down earlier this week for planned maintenance.

The company says it doesn’t expect the closure will impact 2011 production levels. Through the first six months of this year, Kensington produced 49, 434 ounces of gold.

The Kensington Gold Mine is about 45 miles northwest of Juneau.

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