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A New Working Group Wants To Protest Donlin Mine, Protect Salmon

Danielle Craven speaks to John Nick, a shareholder with the Calista Regional Native Corporation, about concerns over the environmental impacts of the proposed Donlin Mine.
Krysti Shallenberger

One of the largest gold mines in the world is being developed in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and that worries many people in the region. Residents are spread out over 55,000 square miles, which creates hurdles toward information getting to people. 

Donlin Gold, the company that is developing the mine, has hosted multiple public hearings about the project for years. But now Danielle Craven, a Bethel resident and opponent of the Donlin mine, wants to make sure that all voices have a place to air concerns about the project.

"After talking to the community, we became concerned that this was going to harm our way of living in the Delta and we decided to come together," Craven said. 

Craven, along with Alyssa Joseph, another Bethel resident, decided to form the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Alliance to oppose the mine and protect the subsistence way of life in the region. The name comes from the different regions of the Y-K Delta.

"We’re all connected. The tributaries connect, the sharing of food connects. We’ve always had the value of sharing and having an open door to people," Craven said. 

So far, 500 people have joined, and Craven hopes for more as she plans outreach efforts to villages across the Y-K Delta. Craven is also a member of the Orutsararmiut Native Council. The tribe held their first public demonstration against the proposed Donlin gold mine last week, and is the first one to do so in the Y-K Delta.

Donlin spokesman Kurt Parkan says that the company is open to people who have concerns about the mine, and understands that not everyone will agree about the project. 


For more information about joining the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Alliance, contact Danielle Craven at 545-3379 or email her at