KYUK AM

Eek Passes Anti-Donlin Resolution

The proposed mine would affect about 3,500 acres of wetlands.
Credit Katie Basile / KYUK

Another tribe in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta does not support the proposed Donlin mine. Eek’s Tribal Council passed its anti-Donlin resolution on July 18. Four members voted in favor of the resolution and one was absent.

In the resolution, the Council says that the mine would destroy the region’s subsistence lifestyle. The mine requires large treatment facilities and will cyanide to process ore, and its operations will release mercury from rocks.

Eek fears that the mining operations could accidentally release those contaminants into the Kuskokwim River, a major food source for the region. The village sits more than 100 miles down from the site on the Eek River, close to the Kuskokwim Bay. The Council also voiced support for the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Alliance, a recently formed local working group in the region.

If completed, the Donlin mine would be one of the biggest gold mines in the world, located in the heart of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Donlin spokesman Kurt Parkan says that the company knows not everyone in the region wants the project, but he says that Donlin is committed to “safely develop[ing] a project that protects the Kuskokwim River.”

So far, eight tribes in the region have passed resolutions against the mine in addition to Eek: The Bethel ONC tribe, Tuluksak, Tununak, Nunapitchuk, Chuloonawick, Kwigillingok, Kongiganak, and Napakiak.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said one member of the tribal council abstained from the vote.