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Coeur Alaska, Inc., to pay $170,000 EPA penalty for “Unpermitted Discharges” at the Kensington Gold project

Release Date: 12/16/2010
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre/EPA 206-553-7302 (desk), 206-369-7999 (cell)

(Seattle, WA - December 15, 2010) - Coeur Alaska, Inc., will pay a $170,000 penalty to resolve Clean Water Act violations stemming from unpermitted discharges at the Kensington Gold Project, located 40 miles north of Juneau, Alaska.

According to the settlement, Coeur had unpermitted discharges of sediment and acid rock drainage into Lower Slate Lake and East Fork Slate Creek between 2006 and 2010. The acid rock drainage contained very high concentrations of metals which were making their way into Slate Creek. The Company began collecting the drainage and treating it before land applying it nearby.

Edward Kowalski, Director of EPA’s Regional Office of Compliance & Enforcement, said today’s action underscores the Agency’s commitment to protecting Alaska’s natural resources.

“The metals discharging from the Kensington project posed a threat to the downstream environment.” said Kowalski. “In this case, Coeur not only failed to comply with the Clean Water Act, but potentially harmed East Fork Slate Creek by allowing unpermitted discharges, including acid rock drainage, to leave the mine property and enter the creek. The result: Coeur will pay a $170,000 penalty.”

This is not EPA’s first Clean Water Act enforcement action with Coeur at the Kensington Gold Project. In December, 2006, Coeur paid an $18,334 penalty to resolve construction storm water violations and the company agreed to perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) by providing $90,000 towards the acquisition of a nearby wetlands conservation easement.

For more about how EPA works to protect America’s waters from pollution, please visit: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/