Fort Knox Mine - Executive Summary

| Accident History | Chemicals | Emergency Response | Registration | Source | Executive Summary |

The Fort Knox Mine is owned and operated by Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Kinross Gold USA, Inc.  The Fort Knox Mine is located in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, approximately 26-road miles northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska.  Access to the site is obtained by driving north from Fairbanks via the Steese Highway to the town of Fox for approximately ten miles and then traveling northeast on Alaska Highway 2 for approximately 10 miles to Cleary Summit.  At the top of Cleary Summit travel southeast on the unpaved Fish Creek Road for approximately six miles to the site. 
The Fort Knox Mine utilizes open pit mining techniques to extract mineralized ore for subsequent processing.  The ore is crushed and conveyed to a stockpile that provides surge capacity for the crusher and milling operations.  The crushed ore is fed to the grinding circuit and processed using conventional milling and Cyanide in Leach techno 
logy.  Carbon removes gold from the tailing stream for refining and the tailing are detoxified prior to deposition in the tailing impoundment.  The carbon is stripped and the gold recovered on stainless steel cathodes within electrowinning cells.  Sludge from the electrowinning cells is refined on-site into dor3/4 bars produced by fluxing and melting the sludge in an induction furnace.  
The Fort Knox Mine has completed a review of chemicals and flammable substances stored on-site and determined that the only substance stored in a quantity exceeding the threshold established in 40 CFR Part 68 is Hydrochloric Acid.  Carbon stripped of gold in the refining process is washed in Hydrochloric Acid to regenerate the carbon by removing organic material and scale prior to introducing the carbon back into the recovery process.  The Hydrochloric Acid is stored within secondary containment in the refinery building in a tank that has a total capacity of 10,152 gallons. 
EPA software (RMP*Submit) h 
as been utilized to compile the required information for an electronic submittal to the EPA.  The software RMP*Comp was utilized to model the worst case release scenario for the Fort Knox Mine. 
The Fort Knox Mine began construction in March 1995 and operations commenced in the fourth quarter of 1996.  During construction and the almost three years of operation the mine has not had a reportable incident involving Hydrochloric Acid.   
The Fort Knox Mine is a small quantity generator as determined by 40 CFR Part 262 and therefore maintains an EPA Identification Number for Hazardous Waste activities.  The EPA Identification Number has been provided in Item 1.3 Other EPA Systems Facility Identifier.  The site has completed an emergency and hazardous chemical inventory and submitted the appropriate forms and drawings to the Fairbanks Local Emergency Planning Commission.  The site currently operates under authority of Air Quality Operating Permit 9531-AA007. 
The Mine Safety and Health Adm 
inistration (MSHA), as determined by 30 CFR, has jurisdiction at the site in lieu of the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  Safety inspections and reporting are completed by and to MSHA. 
The worst case scenario was modeled for a Hydrochloric Acid release of 10,152 gallons, at a concentration of 37 % or greater, 36,406 pounds of HCL, within the refinery building.  Due to the mill building and tailing detoxification building being in close proximity to the refinery building, the mountainous terrain, and the numerous spruce, aspen and birch trees in the area the release was modeled with urban topography.  The release was modeled using the default of 77 degrees Fahrenheit.  The modeled distance to the toxic endpoint was 0.9 miles.  The modeled toxic endpoint encompasses only lands controlled by the Fort Knox Mine.  A drawing has been included that illustrates the modeled toxic endpoint in relation to the project boundary.  Due to the current land position and remote loca 
tion of the Fort Knox Mine there are no public or environmental receptors within the modeled toxic endpoint. 
Due to the modeled toxic endpoint falling within the project boundary, Fort Knox Mine does not intend to implement any further engineering controls or emergency response procedures.  As a part of the preparation of this Risk Management Plan the Fort Knox Emergency Response Plan was updated and language added specific to releases of Hydrochloric Acid.  The Safety Department communicates the emergency response procedures to emergency response personnel and employees at the site on a regular basis.  The Fort Knox Mine maintains adequate equipment and properly trained personnel to respond to incidents at the site and should not require the assistance of the Fairbanks North Star Borough.  As a precautionary measure the Fort Knox Mine has communicated the appropriate information to the Fairbanks Local Emergency Planning Commission, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Managemen 
t, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
Click to return to beginning