SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Greens Creek Exploratory Drilling to go Forward in Roadless


February 29, 2012

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - In a statement issued Tuesday, U.S. Forest Service Alaska Regional Forester Beth Pendleton said an exploratory drilling project in an inventoried roadless area on Admiralty Island in Southeast Alaska has been approved to go forward.

The Greens Creek exploratory drilling will be conducted approximately 20 miles southwest of Juneau within the Admiralty Island National Monument and the Greens Creek Inventoried Roadless Area. The drilling will take place on 11 drill platform sites and the total area affected by the drill pads is 1.25 acres.

“The Forest Service has approved exploratory drilling in an inventoried roadless area for the Greens Creek Mine,” said Pendleton. “This approval will allow Greens Creek to continue drilling to locate additional resources that could extend the life of the mine.”

“Helicopters will transport the drilling rigs, no roads will be constructed or reconstructed and site reclamation will be completed after drilling operations are done,” according to Pendleton.

In a prepared statement U.S. Senator Mark Begich said, “I applaud the decision by the U.S. Forest Service to move ahead with the Greens Creek permit, which is critical for the completion of this year’s exploration plan."

Begich said, “Locating additional resources extends the life of the mine.  This is a good sign for mining in Southeast Alaska and a recognition by the Forest Service that enhancement of existing mining operations, as well as development of new mines like Bokan and Niblack, help to create and keep good paying jobs in the region."

“I especially appreciate that Undersecretary Harris Sherman and Chief Tom Tidwell have been receptive to my support for mining projects in Southeast Alaska as well as my requests that authority for making permitting decisions in inventoried roadless areas be re-delegated to the regional office.  I want to thank Regional Forester Beth Pendleton for taking action just a few days after that authority was approved,” said Senator Begich.

NEPA analysis has been completed for this Greens Creek exploration.

Greens Creek, discovered in 1975, is a large, underground silver mine located in Southeast Alaska, which also produces smaller amounts of gold, lead, and zinc. The mine is the 5th largest silver producer in the world, and the largest in the US.

Full-scale development started in 1987 with concentrate production beginning in 1989. Low metals prices closed the operation in 1993, followed by a $114 million modernization and redevelopment investment over a three-year period. Operations resumed in 1996. Kennecott Greens Creek operated the mine up to 2008 with Hecla Mining Company holding a 29.73% interest. In 2008, Hecla acquired a 70.3% interest of two Rio Tinto subsidiaries to control 100% of the Greens Creek mine.


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews

Sources of News: 

U.S. Forest Service

Office of U.S. Senator Mark Begich

Hecla Mining Company


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