IPOP submits exploration permit application to DNR
After having been advised by permitting agencies that they had to go back to the drawing board and apply for additional permits, the gold mining outfit going by the name of IPOP LLC has last week submitted an amended APMA application to the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources.
IPOP LLC had planned to put a 36-inch Vosta cutter head dredge in the water of Bonanza Channel at Safety and in waters near Solomon this summer, although they have not completed any exploration work which is usually done before any mining takes place. In concert, state and federal regulators warned IPOP representatives that no mining can start unless the proper permits are issued.
IPOP’s plans caused an uproar in Nome and drew the opposition by Native corporations BSNC, Kawerak and Solomon as well as NSEDC, as IPOP proposes to mine in the ecologically sensitive area of Safety Sound and its inland channels that are habitat to several salmon species and the nursery for ice seals.
According to paperwork from the DNR, in the second amended application “IPOP is pursuing an Exploration and environmental baseline program for 2018 including bore hole testing and small scale test dredging with 6” on three of IPOP’s mining claims.” In addition to their 45’ by 24’ dredge with a 10-inch suction hose, they propose to use a 6’ by 4’ Keene GX200 mini dredge with a six-inch suction intake.
The amended application proposes an exploration program that includes “a direct push drilling program (GeoProbe), small test dredge modeling, environmental baseline studies including bathymetric survey, an Eel Grass survey and water quality monitoring during model dredging.”
The purpose of the exploration program is to determine the presence, location and depth of the gold, to collect soil samples for sieve analysis. For some reason, they also want to identify the presence of potential contaminants from historical mining. Another part of the program is to identify and map the presence of Eel grass in their mining claims. The drilling would be done with a GeoProbe rig mounted on a 10’ by 20’ pontoon platform stabilized by four spuds, and a 19-foot support vessel. If done in the winter, they would mount the probe on a sled behind a four-wheeler or snowmachine.
Addressing the regulatory necessity to provide environmental baseline studies, the application says, they would collect and analyze commercial, sport and subsistence records from the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, document the benthic ecosystem on three claims, conduct Eel grass surveys, perform bathymetry transects on the same three claims and inspect the shoreline for nests.
Listed as operator is Beau Epstein with a mailing address in Las Vegas. The start up date is listed for May 1, 2018 and a termination date of Dec. 31, 2023. They also requested to store up to 10,000 gallons of fuel at the mine site and a permit to place wheeled travel trailers as camp on state land.
State and federal regulating agencies indicated that they are planning a public meeting in Nome in the near future.