The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Annette Shacklett
LOG Editor 

Ore mill coming to East Peninsula


Ed and Ann Ellis

A custom hard rock mill is coming to the Seward Mining District. Ed and Ann Ellis of Diamond Gold Corp. plan to build the mill along the Seward Highway corridor – Cooper Landing, Crown Point or Seward and have a local presence by March or April. When in full operation Diamond expects to have a workforce of 20 to 25 fully benefited employees and operate year round.

Though the East Peninsula mines are not high yield, Ed is sure that there is enough to make a mill viable.

The planned mill will process about 100 short tons per day. Diamond will buy ore or mine it from the small gold-quartz mines at Hope, Summit Lake and Crown Point, Ed said. Ore might also come the Port Wells district and shipped through Seward or Whittier to the mill.

The operation will use one-stage crushing/grinding followed by simple gravity concentration and recovery of gold and silver. The metal recovered at the mill will be furnaced and poured into ingots. The remaining gold and silver will be shipped to a smelter.

No chemicals will be used in the processing, Ed said. The tailings will be fine-ground, washed quartz sand which is used for sand blasting, or as aggregate for things like driveways. The quartz sand is also used in shotcrete, a material used to back fill the mines.

Also at the mill, gold in quartz rock will saved when possible and made into cabochons. The cabochons will be sold in the company's gemstone retail line.

Currently the company is assembling the needed equipment. Some it already owns and some will be purchased and shipped in.

Ed first worked in prospecting in the Cooper Landing area in the mid-'70s. He prospected there for 20 years. He went on to form Diamond Gold which has facilities at Kahiltna River where they do gems, agates, diamond ore and gold, and the Fire Brick Mine where gold, silver and copper are mined.

One aspect of the mill will be tours and products for visitors. "Visitors are very interested in Alaska mining," said Ed.

Workforce development begins this spring. "We prefer to hire local. We can train for job function and provide mine safety certification," said Ed. The underground miners must be trained or certified through the Delta Mining School. The company is expecting a $2.5 million annual payroll.

The jobs will include administrators, geologists, security and emergency, lab tech/assayer, mill superintendent, truckers, mill techs and retail sales and plant tour coordinator.

"A delight for Ann and I would be if the mill creates a stable, well-paid local workforce which could perhaps keep local schools viable," said Ed.


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