COMANCO at Fort Knox Heap Leach Pad (Alaska)




The Alaska Crew has reached a major milestone in the construction of the Heap Leach Pad out at the Fort Knox Gold Mine in Fairbanks, AK. COMANCO started the installation back in the summer of 2008 and worked until the weather shut the job down for the season. The Crew returned again in the summer of 2009 and worked until early October. Then the Crew returned again this year 2010 and was able to complete Stage 1 of the project. In Stage 1 the Crew installed 80 mil double sided LLDPE geomembrane, 300 mil double side geocomposite, geosynthetic clay liner, non-woven geotextile, and batten bar.

The completion of Stage 1 and reaching this major milestone is not the end of the season at Fort Knox. COMANCO is continuing on and has rolled over into starting work on Stage 2 deploying more 80 mil double sided LLDPE, and geosynthetic clay liner. The COMANCO Crew was challenged by the steep slopes, constantly changing weather patterns, a tight schedule, and at times a confined work area. Even with all of these challenges facing them they prevailed,  worked safely, quickly, efficiently, and met each task head on.

COMANCO PM Brian Libby and Superintendent Jose Hernandez have been on the project since day one and have seen the Heap Leach Pad take shape  from a deep valley of trees and rocks to one that has become an operational Heap Leach. The owners (Kinross) have been placing the ore into the lower portion of the pond  and have reached the Stage 1 limits all the way around except for the small area that was not completed last season. But now that COMANCO has completed the Stage 1 limits, 100% the mine has been hauling in ore to bring that area up to the same working elevation as the rest of the Heap Leach Pad.

The engineers on the project are extremely pleased with the current condition and output of the Heap Leach Pad and are equally impressed with COMANCO’s safety performance and can do attitude.