(Reprint of a Letter to the Editor by David Ray Cornberg published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner)
Peak Gold LLC commissioned Michael Minor & Associates, Portland Oregon, to do a noise and vibration study of the desired ore haul route from the Manh Choh mine to the Fort Knox Mine. The report is dated December 2021. The measurements taken for the study were done on 8/29, 8/30, 8/31 and 9/1 of 2021.
This report has insurmountable limitations as a document to either red light or green light the ore haul proposal. First, no ore haul trucks of the proposed configuration were using the route at any time during the study. Second, the ore haul trucks are stated several times to be comparable to heavy trucks already on the route. This comparison is false. The ore haul truck configuration recently released by Kinross not only was not available when this report was written, it clearly shows a truck unlike any in use on the route. Third, the study did not sample noise at multiple sites during an entire year which includes a significant increase in traffic during the summer months and a significant difference in sound transmission when trees are with and without leaves and when air is warm and very cold. Fourth, the study asked machines, not people, whether or not the noise and vibration is disturbing. This approach, standardizing and quantifying stimuli so they can be measured by machine rather than by personal account, avoids the diversity of human thresholds of sensitivity. And, fifth, the hearing and health impacts of noise and vibration accumulation are mentioned only in passing.
In my view, this report has absolutely no value for red lighting or green lighting the ore haul proposal. This report should not be considered a valid assessment of noise and vibration issues on the proposed ore haul route.