NSB applies for new gravel mine site
The North Slope Borough has applied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to develop a new gravel mine about 25 miles east of the village of Nuiqsut, and about eight miles west of the Kuparuk base camp. The development, on the east side of Kalubik Creek, would be adjacent an existing gravel mine referred to as Mine Site F, with the new mine separately owned and operated by the borough.
The borough told the Corps that the need for more gravel for multiple new oil developments in the region necessitates the new mine site. One project in the region is Oil Search’s Pikka oil field development. There needs to be sufficient gravel for the construction of facility needs such a permanent access road and operational pads, the NSB told the Corps.
The borough told the Corps that the proposed mine would eliminate the need for a separate gravel mine that has been proposed just for the Pikka development, thus reducing the wetlands impact of acquiring the gravel. The borough also told the commission that the proposed site for a gravel mine for Pikka is closer to Nuiqsut than Mine Site F.
The first phase of the proposed mine would involve excavating an approximately 1,400-foot square area. Phase two, conducted after phase one material has been depleted, would expand the western and southern borders of the mine. After eventual reclamation of the mine site, the gravel pits will slowly fill with water that can be used to construct ice roads, to supplement drilling activities, for dust control, and for watering measures in association with natural, fish-bearing lakes, the borough told the Corp.
- ALAN BAILEY