Ross Adams Mine, Kendrick Bay

Ross Adams Mine, Kendrick Bay

by | Dec 23, 2022

The Ross Adams is a historical uranium-thorium mine in the Tongass National Forest, located on the southeastern slopes of Bokan Mountain near the southern end of Prince of Wales Island, approximately 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Hydaburg and 38 air miles (61 km) southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska. The mine is within the Kendrick Creek watershed and an abandoned road leads to the head of West Arm Kendrick Bay. The bay was named in 1879 by William H. Dall of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey for Captain John Kendrick, an American sea captain during the American Revolutionary War. In 1788-1789, Kendrick was involved in the exploration and maritime fur trading of the Pacific Northwest alongside his subordinate Robert Gray with the vessels Columbia Rediviva and Lady Washington.

The Ross Adams ore deposit outcropped on the southeastern flank of Bokan Mountain. In 1956, mining began with an open pit at an elevation of 900 feet (274 m), then from 1957 to 1971, three underground adits or tunnels at 900 (274 m), 700 (213 m) and 300 feet (91 m) in elevation were operated intermittently by several different mining companies. The mines produced about 650 tons (590,000 kg) of uranium ore. The ore produced from all levels was conveyed via haul roads to ore staging areas and barge loading docks on the north shore of West Arm Kendrick Bay.

The Bokan Intrusive Complex, in which the Ross Adams deposit is located, is comprised of rare earth elements and rock types including uranium and thorium. Rare earth elements include a select group of specialty metals produced primarily for technology applications. China currently controls more than 95% of world production and there has recently been interest in establishing a domestic supply. Thorium based nuclear power generation is fueled primarily by the nuclear fission of the isotope uranium-233 produced from thorium. According to proponents, a thorium fuel cycle offers several potential advantages over a uranium fuel cycle including a much greater abundance of thorium on Earth, superior physical and nuclear fuel properties, and reduced nuclear waste production. Mineral exploration continues in the Bokan Mountain region for deposits of rare earth elements as well as thorium. Read more here and here. Explore more of Ross Adams here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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