To reopen the quarry, which has been closed since 2000, Bristol Bay Native Corporation put in a new access road and sought out new customers for the rock.
There is a new wide dirt road cut into the side of a rocky ridge on Snake Lake Mountain north of Dillingham. Part of the ridge is permitted as a rock quarry, and the riprap extracted from there is valuable for construction projects and as rock armor to shore up eroding banks.
The quarry on Snake Mountain was active until 2000. Choggiung Ltd. owns the land, and the Bristol Bay Native Corp. owns the subsurface rights.
Limited demand and difficult access made it a less competitive operation than the Ekuk Quarry closer to Aleknagik on Lake Road, according to Russell Phelps, BBNC's natural resources manager.
Phelps said the BBNC board recently tasked the land department with investing in the region. Reopening the Snake Lake Quarry became the top priority project, and BBNC found new riprap buyers in the Dillingham area and further afield in western Alaska. The construction that started in mid-July is nearly finished, and Phelps said the quarry is set to be operational again by early September.
He estimated the rock potential is 2.4 million cubic yards.
“The quarry is hopefully going to operate well beyond our lifetimes. Unless a really, really large project came up, the availability for rock in the Dillingham area and Western Alaska is going to last for hundreds of years,” said Phelps.
BBNC anticipates the project will provide revenue and employment for shareholders. Their goal is to hire shareholders to operate equipment and drive trucks under the oversight of Bristol Construction Services.
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