Surface Mining in Alaska
Mining operations may be conducted on or below the surface of the ground. Common surface mining methods such as strip mining and open pit mines, both used here in Alaska, are appropriate where profitable mineral resources (ore) are found at or near the surface.
The Ft. Knox Gold Mine is an active, open pit mine situated approximately 25 miles northeast of Fairbanks, Alaska. Located near the surface in one of the largest gold deposits in Alaska, the Ft. Knox deposit is a large, low-grade, low-sulfur intrusion. Low grade refers to the average amount of gold found in each ton of ore (approximately 0.03 for Ft. Knox); low sulfur deposits have less potential for acidic conditions and the associated environmental concerns.