Another tribal council opposes Donlin Mine - Must Read Alaska
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Another tribal council opposes Donlin Mine

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 WILL DONLIN BE THE NEXT PEBBLE?

The Tuluksak Native Community Village Council voted 5-0 to oppose the development of the Donlin Gold Mine. Tuluksak says it opposes the mine due to the “extreme ruin, destruction and danger it should pose to the Yuuyaraq health and welfare in the Indigenous Tribes and the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region.”

The council voted on July 5, becoming the second Native tribe in the region to oppose the Donlin mine. The Orutsaramiut Native Council had protested, for nearly identical reasons.

On July 7, some Calista Regional Native Corporation shareholders spoke their concerns about the mine’s impact on subsistence at the corporation’s annual meeting. To support them, the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Alliance has emerged as a rallying cry against the proposed mine, putting Calista and Kuskokwim Corporation in awkward positions, since they own the subsurface mineral rights, but have leased those to the project. The alliance says it is planning more protests and organizational activities in the region.

The environmental impact statement for the proposed mine has been completed and a record of decision on the permit is due in August. The opposition to the mine has come after the public comment period closed.

Donlin Mine is in area to the north and west of another proposed mine — Pebble. That project, whose name is a household word in Alaska, has been mired in controversy, lawsuits, and even federal embargoes for years. Gov. Bill Walker has come out in opposition to Pebble since he became governor, although in 2013 he was in favor of the permitting process. He has not stated where he stands on Donlin.

Donlin sits on one of the biggest undeveloped gold deposits in the world. Owned by Novagold Resources and Barrick Gold USA, the joint venture with Calista is 12 miles from the Kuskokwim River and is capable of producing 1.5 million ounces of gold during the first five years of operation, leveling off to 1.1 million ounces during the rest of the mine’s life, which is expected to be 27 years.

The project could bring 3,000 construction jobs and up to 1,400 operational jobs to the region.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I would like to know who is providing these villages the information that they decided to vote against Donlin. Did they talk to the Kuskokwim villages that have been rewarded with high paying jobs and infrastructure possibilities like Aniak, Red Devil, Sleetmute, Lime village, and Stony River? Donlin has been around for over 10 years now and gold is what, $1200/oz? Carefully let them proceed and enable rural people to reap the benefits.

    The statement “extreme ruin, destruction and danger it should pose to the Yuuyaraq health and welfare in the Indigenous Tribes and the people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region”???? Tell me how…

  • opponents of projects like pebble or donlin are either paid by NRDC or china or just haven’t milked the developers for enough money yet.

    stop all federal aid/welfare for tribes and natives and you will see them change their opinion on these projects real quick.

  • My answer is unequivocally NO. Now, would you mind repeating the question, I have poor hearing.

  • It’s quite possible that the residents around Donlin have weighed the temporary (27 years) nature of the operational jobs extracting non-renewable resources that will leave the state against millennia of feeding themselves and their families and decided that the short-term financial gain isn’t worth it.

  • I met a Native lawyer, in Rodgers Park; he spent his entire career trying to develop natural resources for Calista.
    After ANILCA his team was asked to find resources to develop on Calista land
    Donlin was found to be the best opportunity.
    His whole career was spent trying to make Donlin happen; now he’s retired and still no gold mine
    His hope was that young Native people who he worked with & mentored might get to see it happen
    This is so sad, there are many educated professional Natives working to improve life for Alaskans and they are shut down by environmentalists & the citizens they recruit
    A Native woman & her husband traveled village to village for years selling Donlin…they said the resistance was from elders who think there kids will leave if they have money and jobs
    Young people were much more interested in development/jobs
    Life will be better for Yupik people when this happens, it will help them just as RedDog has helped people& villages

  • I met a Native lawyer, in Rodgers Park; he spent his entire career trying to develop natural resources for Calista.
    After ANILCA his team was asked to find resources to develop on Calista land
    Donlin was found to be the best opportunity.
    His whole career was spent trying to make Donlin happen; now he’s retired and still no gold mine
    His hope was that young Native people who he worked with & mentored might get to see it happen
    This is so sad, there are many educated professional Natives working to improve life for Alaskans and they are shut down by environmentalists & the citizens they recruit
    A Native woman & her husband traveled village to village for years selling Donlin…they said the resistance was from elders who think there kids will leave if they have money and jobs
    Young people were much more interested in development/jobs
    Life will be better for Yupik people when this happens, it will help them just as RedDog has helped people& villages

  • good article…thanks

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