- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The former manager of a western Alaska mine has pleaded guilty to violating federal environmental law.

Robert Pate, the former general manager of Platinum Creek Mine, pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating the Clean Water Act and filing false reports, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1Ejgt8B) reported.

Pate, 63, of Spokane, Washington, was general manager of the mine on the edge of the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge from February 2010 to June 2012.

The mine’s owner, XS Platinum, also has been charged. That case remains open.

Federal prosecutors said the mine released polluted water into the Salmon River.

“Turbid process water from the placer mining at the Platinum Creek Mine contained pollutants such as suspended particles and sediments, and may have also included waste such as dissolved metals that posed a potential threat to aquatic life,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Pate is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 2. He has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine. The recommended sentence includes the possibility of prison time.

Bureau of Land Management state director Bud Cribley in a statement said the agency supports responsible development at the mine.

“We are working closely with our state and federal partners as well as with the current claim owner to bring the Platinum Creek Mine back into production in a manner that will protect the Salmon River and restore it to a functioning condition,” Cribley said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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