The Pogo Gold Mine, where gold production was launched in Alaska, is our company's first overseas mine where we are taking the initiative. We were fully committed to the environment from the design stage and engaged the local residents in discussions which culminated in our receiving development permits.
Bird-eye View of Pogo Gold Mine
Pogo mine entrance
Exploration at the Pogo Mine began in 1990, and gold deposits were discovered in 1994. We verified the gold quantity, obtained environmental permits then moved onto mine construction and launched production in 2006. This was the first of many overseas mines we have invested in where we were in charge of the mine's development.
The United States is the world's leader in the introduction of environmental assessments, and Alaska has many national parks and wildlife refuges with very stringent environmental protection standards requiring 83 separate permits. We recognized that coexistence with the environment and relating to local residents were essential in the mine's development, which led us to conduct a full environmental review from the design stage. This is the only gold mine employing unique processes others cannot realize. We also held open forums with local residents to gain their understanding of the critical efforts we were making for the environment.
We responded to environment concerns in the development of the Pogo Mine by minimizing its ecological impact. Preserving the rivers where salmon run and avoiding any impact on the moose's habitat were critical. This also meant preserving the fishing and hunting grounds directly linked to the lives of the native inhabitants.
For water treatment, we purified the mine sump water using a treatment plant which was then used as processed water. The discharge standards of excess water was checked before being outflowed to the river.
Toxic cyanide is needed in the gold manufacturing process, but the water coming in contact with cyanide was isolated in the process as we established a system cutoff from the outside. We also performed the sorting using gravity classification then conveyed the materials to flotation where only the minimum of ore required at around 1/10 concentration was reacted with cyanide.
Pogo Mine Aurora
We did our best to avoid any impact on the moose through measures that avoided the breeding grounds when constructing access roads to the mine and not allowing their use by the general public. The access road needed to be 80 km long, but Alaska had not had a road built that was longer than 10 km for the past 20 years, so we did our best to explain the reasons for the road.