Read RDC's testimony from January 28, 2016

Action Alert: Comment in Support of the Donlin Gold Project
Comment Deadline is May 31, 2016

Overview:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Donlin Gold LLC project.  The Corps will accept comments, questions, and suggestions to the draft EIS through May 31, 2016.  A series of Public Meetings were held in region communities and in Anchorage.

The project is located in Southwest Alaska, approximately 277 miles west of Anchorage, nearest to the community of Crooked Creek.  In addition to an open pit, hard rock gold mine, the project proposal includes 313 miles of buried, natural gas pipeline; a power plant; and a road, airstrip and barge landings.

The Donlin Gold project could produce gold for 27.5 years, while providing well-paying jobs. The region experiences some of the highest unemployment rates and has few other economic opportunities.  Through the exploration stages, Donlin has shown a strong commitment to local hire as well as showing support to communities and cultures in the region.  The Donlin Gold project is a rare opportunity to improve the local economy where few other opportunities exist.

The project will be scrutinized under a rigorous permitting process that reviews and analyzes all potential impacts, and should include the positive economic ones.  Alaska has six existing large producing mines that were permitted under a rigorous review required by the National Environmental Policy Act and a scientifically based permitting process that would require as many as 100 State and Federal permits and authorizations. 

The project is on surface land owned by The Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC), and Calista Corporation subsurface estate.  These lands were selected under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) specifically for their mineral development potential.  Royalties paid to Calista will in part be redistributed to other regional and village corporations, pursuant to the 7(i) and 7(j) provisions of ANCSA. Donlin Gold is proposing to develop this land in partnership with Calista Corporation and TKC.

Additional project information can be found at: www.DonlinGoldEIS.com

Action requested:

Please submit written comments in support of Alternative 2 before May 31, 2016. Lack of development will have a negative social and economic impact on the Yukon Kuskokwim (YK) region, particularly as the Alaska economy is in a downturn. 

Email: POA.donlingoldeis@usace.army.mil

Online: www.donlingoldeis.com/Comment.aspx

Fax: 907-753-5567

Mail comments to:
Keith Gordon, Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineer
Alaska District CEPOA-RD-Gordon
P.O. Box 6898
JBER, AK, 99506-0898

 RDC encourages its members to support Alternative 2, highlighting:

  • The social and economic benefits of this project to the region, state, and to the nation;
    • Through  ANCSA 7(i) and 7(j) revenue sharing provisions, the Donlin Gold project will provide revenue to all Alaska Native regional and village corporations.
    • The jobs and the economic stimulus provided by Donlin Gold would help sustain communities in the YK region and fund traditional subsistence activities.
    • Rural Alaska is being impacted most by the reduction of state and federal dollars. Alternative 1 (the no project alternative) will likely have a negative impact on the YK region.
  • The potential for lower cost energy options to the region such as the proposed natural gas pipeline which will have excess capacity should there be an interest in accessing natural gas to address the energy needs of the YK region.
  • Job opportunities which will likely lead to reduced out-migration, helping to maintain rural schools and culture, including traditional ways of life.

Additional points to consider in your comments:

  • The Donlin Gold project could produce gold for 27.5 years, while providing well paying jobs in a region where few other opportunities exist.
  • The State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources enforces stringent regulations overseeing mining activities statewide that effectively protect the environment, wildlife, and human health.
  • New mining operations in the area, should they come to fruition, can be of great economic benefit to Alaska and local communities, as well as Alaska Native corporations and shareholders.
  • This project will likely provide responsible economic prospects for this region and for Alaska, while protecting the subsistence resources.
  • The proposed pipeline in Alternative 2 is designed to minimize impacts on the Iditarod National Historic Trail.  There would be insignificant impacts to the trail and no impacts to the Iditarod Sled Dog race.
  • Construction of the gas pipeline would be sensitive to the timing of the Iditarod and Iron Dog races as well as hunting season.
  • The EIS process gives Alaskans and other stakeholders adequate time to fully review the project documents, and to provide input on the plans. 
  • The project will offer long-term opportunities for rural Alaskans to develop skills and to enable them to not only continue living in rural Alaska, but to prosper.
  • An estimated 3,000 jobs will be created during the approximate four-year construction phase, and between 600 to 1,200 jobs for the estimated mine life of 27.5 years. These jobs will have a significant and positive impact on the economy of the region and the state.
  • Donlin Gold’s project description demonstrates an understanding of environmental concerns, and features vigorous environmental management principles.
  • Alaska’s existing mines are operating to the highest standards and in harmony with our renewable resources. 

Comment Deadline is May 31, 2016