FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The federal government has plans to give up about one square mile (2.6 square kilometers) of land next to the Kinross Fort Knox gold mine.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been using the land as a buffer for radio interference around an array of weather satellite receivers, but no longer needs to, the Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/2qwYOqI ) Tuesday.

A provision of the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act gives the state first claim to a piece of land that the federal government relinquishes, but a public meeting is scheduled for Thursday to talk about the relinquishment process.

A subsidiary of the nearby Kinross mining company had received authorization in 2014 to explore for gold in the area.

“Fairbanks Gold Mining is engaged in exploration throughout the District, and we plan to continue this exploration, including preliminary exploration on this land,” company spokeswoman Anna Atchison said.

The state government is still in the process of receiving the 165,300 square miles (428,157 square kilometers) promised to it through the 1959 Alaska Statehood Act and subsequent amendments. To date, the state has received about 156,250 square miles (404,687 square kilometers), said Marty Parsons, the deputy director of the Division of Mining, Land and Water.

“As you get down to the final 5 million acres, you have to get very selective because they’re not going to give us any more,” Parsons said.

The land had been a high priority and was top-filed by the state government because it has state mining claims on it that can’t be used while the federal government is using the land, he said.


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