DNR Informal Conference about Jonesville Coal Mine permit renewal. Bring your friends and neighbors. This is a chance to comment on the Coal Mine Permit for Black Range Minerals/Ranger Alaska to strip mine in Sutton.
* Mine plan must be updated- most of it was written in the 1990′s- the surrounding community has many more homes.
* Jonesville Road is a neighborhood and should not be a coal truck transportation route- there is an alternate route past fewer residences.
* A Health Impact Assessment should be done to determine the human health impacts from this coal mine before mining proceeds.
* Mandatory water testing and monitoring needs to be expanded, to protect the drinking water of residents of Jonesville Road and 17 Mile Lake.
* With mining, underground coal fires may begin again- bonds must be high enough to cover the cost of putting out these fires.
* Blasting operations should be limited to business hours on weekdays.
* Recreational access to Slipper Lake and the Matanuska Valley Moose Range will be restricted.
The Evans Jones Coal Mine operated between 1920 and 1968 in Sutton, where it produced over five million tons of coal and was the site of a serious mining accident in 1937 when 14 miners died. Much of the mine (now known as the Jonesville Mine) is currently under various stages of active reclamation under the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Act, due mostly to underground coal fires. There are still active underground fires at the site.
Throughout the 1990′s and 2000′s there was sporadic interest in re-opening the mine and some exploration occurred. In 2008 Australian-based Black Range Minerals purchased the Jonesville Mine rights through a subsidiary corporation Ranger Alaska, as well as two adjacent leases comprising 1,450 acres. The Jonesville Mine plan is to re-mine the coal mine tailings piles as a surface strip mine and initiate underground mining. The site has primarily medium-grade bituminous coal, which would most likely be exported to Asia.
In 2010, Ranger Alaska applied for an extension of the mining permit at this site. The public comment period for this extension ended on October 19th, 2010. Some of the biggest local concerns about the re-opening of the mine have to due with traffic and pollution associated with the transportation of the coal. Other issues have been raised such as possible groundwater contamination from the ongoing coal fires. [GroundTruthTrekking.org]