Doyon threatens AIDEA, will withdraw access to Ambler mine area, unless …


Doyon Ltd. has sent a letter threatening the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, a state-owned development agency, that the access to the Ambler Mining District across the Alaska Native corporation’s land is going to be revoked — unless certain other conditions concerning unrelated projects are met.

Aaron Schutt, Doyon’s CEO, wrote to AIDEA Executive Director Randy Ruaro, laying down certain terms having to do with an agreement at the Mustang Pad on the North Slope, which Schutt says AIDEA failed to honor.

Schutt demanded AIDEA drop its appeal of Doyon’s free land use permit to use the Mustang Pad free of charge, or else Doyon would pull support from the Ambler Road.

“To be clear, we view AIDEA’s actions related to Mustang Pad to be in bad faith and that those actions have significantly damaged the relationship with Doyon. Until our relationship is rehabilitated, we will not consider granting access to our lands,” Schutt wrote.

Doyon owns the land needed for a right-of-way road to the state-owned Ambler Mining District. The land access agreement, signed in 2021, expires in April of 2024, and Schutt said it will not be allowing AIDEA’s team, which is working in the field to develop and prove the mining district, further access.

“Doyon’s relationship with AIDEA and the Ambler Access Project has been fraught for many years,” Schutt said in his letter, in which he misspelled the name of Ruaro, to whom the letter was specifically addressed.

But the threat against a state agency is itself fraught, and appears litigious in nature.

Doyon is demanding access free of charge to the Mustang pad for Doyon’s man camps, something worth millions of dollars to AIDEA and Mustang Holdings LLC, if it remained the owner of the pad and project; the project is in the process of being sold.

No other working interest owner had agreed to the free-use agreement either, and sources say that the Department of Natural Resources didn’t approve of the arrangement.

DNR did grant Doyon a use agreement for the Mustang Pad, but the terms of that permit required Doyon to reach an “equitable agreement” with the owner of the pad. 

Since Doyon paid nothing for the construction of the pad, AIDEA decided that some kind of fair-market rent for using the pad was proper.

Then there is the pesky federal law that set forth absolute access conditions for the Ambler Mining District. The Statehood Act of 1959 promised Alaska it “shall” have access to minerals on state lands, and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 specifically defined the route of access to the Ambler Mining District, and reiterated the Statehood Act’s determination that there must be access granted.

In 1980, section 201(4)(b) of ANILCA says, “Congress finds that there is a need for access for surface transportation purposes … from the Ambler mining district to the Alaska Pipeline Haul Road and the Secretary shall permit such access …”

Congress went further and declared that federal law prevented an agency such as Bureau of Land Management, in permitting road access to the Ambler mining district from imposing conditions so strict, severe, or costly that the road would no longer be “adequate and feasible” for economic purposes, i.e., mining. 

And Congress even confirmed that BLM must give immediate “temporary” access to the “State” (of which AIDEA is an agency) “to or across” federal land for purposes of “survey, geophysical, exploratory, or other temporary uses whether “permanent harm” to the land would not result.

But it appears Doyon is having second thoughts about granting access and that it may end up in court with the state if it follows through on its threat and blocks the right of way.

The Doyon letter follows:



  1. These native corporations have gotten huge infusions of money from the Biden Administration. Add to this the gifting of huge tracts of land and we’ll be seeing plenty more of this.

  2. Even Alaska business journals will show that Native Corporations are the highest profit earners in the state by a wide margin. They got there by Federal set-aside contracts, which go the best bidder but only if those bidders are Native. At some point it is just grift, as there is no reason Natives cannot compete in an open market. Now they are becoming the corporate bullies they always decried before ANILCA. They will not suffer having a road through that tiny bit of their territory, but they use access as a wedge. It is only a matter of time before they declare sovereignty and ignore the laws completely.

  3. Who is apt to lose more in this stand-off? Doyon or AIDEA? Land and minerals have little tangible value without access so I would not look into the mouth of the gift horse that is the Ambler Rd. The Mustang Pad dispute seems like chump change in comparison.

  4. Private property is private property and Doyon Native Corporation owns land necessary and can withdraw access for an Ambler road.
    The parant owners of Ambler mine are foreigners with a legal disclaimer, Alaskans get nothing out of the deal.
    Alaska should stick with smaller mines owned by U.S. company’s and stay with president Trumps ”America First Policy”, after all, we are not traitors 😉

  5. This is how Alaskan state government should be toward the federal government. It hold certain important interests hostage unless the federal government meets state-demanded conditions. Schutt gives a good example what Alaska needs to do for our survival against an increasing hostile federal government.

  6. Seems like Doyon is cutting off its nose to spite its face. Ambler road is a must do. There is hundreds of billions in minerals waiting to be harvested and Doyon owns a bunch of it. Doyon and nana must be fighting they are also a huge stake holder in the district. The politics are absolutely destroying Alaska.

  7. Conflate often??

    “to or across” federal land for purposes of “survey, geophysical, exploratory, or other temporary…….”

    Doyon land is not Federal Land.

    I’m sure the State has a legitimate argument here so how about we stick to that??

  8. I think that there is more to this story then we know. I see what others are writing about the native corporations. I am on the fence about the settlement act that gives the natives the land they have because I feel that they were even screwed by the globalists in that deal also. I am not in support of allowing mining companies to rape and pillage our lands because Alaska does not benefit on the scale that the owners/stockholders of these mines benefit. It makes me sick to see how large the mine is just north of Fairbanks and it is growing. Something is going on that we do not know about. Ambler Mine has been on the table for a long time, why now would Mr. Schutt take this action? Has something changed that we do not know about? If those owners/shareholders/stockholders are big names (Blackrock, Vangaurd, and so on), I would be telling them they are not getting anything more for “free.”

  9. As usual, here is a native corporation, which has white-man consultants, and those consultants do no more than enrich themselves at the native’s expense. This scenario has been repeated many times over the years.

  10. I wonder if CEO Aaron Schutt ran this quid pro quo letter through his legal department before he sent it, and if he did what they thought about it.

  11. Tread carefully my friends… The conflicts between the Statehood Compact, ANCSA and ANILCA are on full display. It is a matter for the courts, and I don’t believe any of them are competent to judge this case.

    • Rich (it’s a matter for the courts) which Corrupt courts are you talking about …oh that’s right they all are! No matter. Competency vs Corruption ! Who to you think wins?

  12. With the campaign against Ambler and other mining ventures in Alaska by “environmental” and “wilderness” groups, is there a possibility that Mr. Schutt’s actions may be related? Then there is the democrat VS republican thing and the so-called “green new deal” focus of the Biden Administration. It would appear that this is a very complicated situation. I wonder if we have the unbiased judges that would be capable of judging this matter.

  13. If the ambler road is put in place , every Alaskan should be allowed to use the road . We Alaskans do not have many roads , it would be unfair that any company from outside the United States be allowed to have a private road to them selves.. This is our land first,….

    • I agree with you on this point Hugh Rosa. The state of Alaska is going to pay for the road and the mining company is going to make it for mining company use only? B.S. That is globalist control of our resources and where we can go.

  14. I am glad that I read the entire article and letter before coming to any conclusion. There is a lot lot more to it than what is headlined.

  15. I don’t know why they want a road. If you want to haul bulk ore, coal or any other any other missive amount of material a railroad is the way to go. Could connect with the Alaska rail road without off loading hundreds of trucks.

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