U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today introduced legislation to permit road access to two proposed multi-mineral mines on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska. The bill would authorize the building of road through inventoried roadless lands.
"Southeast Alaska is in dire need of new job opportunities," Murkowski said. "These mines will bring stable, well-paying jobs to hundreds of residents, if we can resolve the access issue. My bill will make getting to work a much easier task for residents of Prince of Wales Island."
The mines -- Niblack and Bokan Mountain -- could be open within three to four years, depending on final economic reviews and current permit approval time lines. Niblack is a gold, copper, zinc, and silver deposit, while Bokan Mountain is a rare earth elements mine. Bokan Mountain alone is expected to employ 200 workers.
The project would require building 26 miles of road (18 miles of which would be through roadless area) to Niblack mine, with another 50 miles of road to the Bokan Mountain mineral deposits. Without this legislation, workers would likely have to travel to Ketchikan and then take a boat across often dangerous waters to the reach the mine sites.