Forest Service allows limited expansion of mine tailing facility; praised by Trout Unlimited

JUNEAU, Alaska - The U.S. Forest Service is allowing for limited expansion of a mine tailing facility at Admiral Island National Monument.

The decision, released Friday, authorizes the Greens Creek Mine to expand its tailings disposal facility by about 18 acres. The agency said another eight acres can be developed outside the monument for rock quarry and reclamation material storage sites and for expanding an existing water management pond.

The mine is operated by Hecla Mining Co., which earlier proposed expanding its tailings area 116 acres into the monument. The agency, in a release, said the company's proposal would have resulted in the permanent loss of over 1,600 feet of salmon stream habitat.

Mark Kaelke of Trout Unlimited said his group appreciates Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole's "thoughtful and measured approach."