The Association of Village Council Presidents no longer supports the proposed Donlin Gold mine. That decision came during its annual convention this week.
After two hours of passionate debate on Wednesday, Sept. 25, delegates from the 56 tribes that AVCP represents overwhelmingly voted to withdraw a resolution supporting the mine, and then voted to pass a separate resolution that opposes it. There were 41 delegates attending the convention on Wednesday.
The resolution asking for AVCP to withdraw the resolution supporting the mine passed with 34 delegates voting yes, four no, and two abstaining. The resolution opposing the Donlin mine passed with 35 delegates in favor, two opposed, and three abstaining.
The vote reverses a 2006 AVCP resolution delegates passed that supported the Donlin Gold mine, and the new resolution shows that the mine has lost significant regional support from tribes. The Orutsararmiut Native Council of Bethel, which opposes the mine, submitted the resolution to withdraw AVCP's support for the Donlin project. The Native Village of Kwinhagak, which also objects to the mine, submitted the resolution for AVCP to oppose the project. Both these resolutions will be presented at the Alaska Federation of Natives’ annual convention in October.
Donlin Gold did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Donlin Gold has repeatedly said that it plans to build the mine as safely as possible.
Last year, AVCP tabled two anti-Donlin resolutions that sought to reverse its position on the Donlin Gold mine because they were not submitted on deadline.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that the Orutsararmiut Native Council of Bethel submitted both resolutions referred to in this article That is incorrect. The Orutsararmiut Native Council of Bethel submitted the resolution to withdraw AVCP's support for the Donlin project. The Native Village of Kwinhagak submitted the resolution for AVCP to oppose the Donlin mine.