Federal government releases plan to clean up Alaska mercury mine abandoned decades ago

The Red Devil Mine site in 2019. (Katie Basile/KYUK)

The final feasibility study detailing cleanup options for the contaminated Red Devil mercury mine site is out. The Bureau of Land Management plans to hold public meetings in the villages near the mine site to collect feedback about the remediation plans.

According to BLM spokesperson James Hart, BLM will open public comments on the plan for 60 days, beginning March 1 and ending April 30.

The Red Devil mercury mine permanently closed in 1971 after the price of ore fell and the owners walked away, leaving it up to the state and federal governments to clean up the site. It’s taken 40 years of testing and some remediation before BLM, which heads the cleanup efforts, rolled out this final plan.

Related: This old Alaska mining town is almost a ghost town. It has everything to gain from Donlin Mine.

The mine used to be the biggest mercury mine operating in Alaska, and built the community of Red Devil in the Middle Kuskokwim River area. At the mine’s peak, 200 people lived in the village, but people left once the mine closed and jobs disappeared. Only about 20 residents remain year-round.