DNR Gears Up For Public Comment On Major Donlin Permits Next Year

Credit Katie Basile / KYUK

Donlin Gold is waiting on one important permit for its proposed gold mine in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The state says that it will issue a decision by the end of 2018. And next year looks pretty busy for Donlin as state agencies prepare for public hearings over more permits. The company needs at least 100 permits before it can start mining.  

Donlin Gold is waiting on state approval for its draft reclamation and bonding plans. Those plans are under one permit, and the state is reviewing it after a public hearing held in Bethel last fall.

Faith Martineau is the Executive Director of Permitting at the Department of Natural Resources. She coordinates the permits that Donlin is applying for with other relevant state agencies. Martineau says that the agency will make a final decision on those plans by the end of December. That decision will cap off Donlin’s permitting process for this year, a year which saw the company clear several major hurdles.

The biggest of those was the joint record of decision from the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Land Management in August. It capped a lengthy and expensive environmental review due to the mine's impact on 2,800 acres of wetlands.

Martineau says that DNR is preparing preliminary decisions for public comment on several state permits next year. Those include ones to build a port, a private road, two temporary roads, a fiber-optic cable easement, an airstrip, and a right-of-way for the 315-mile gas pipeline that Donlin is proposing to build to power its mining operations.

The agency expects to roll out the public notice of those preliminary decisions next month. Following that, DNR will hold public hearings in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta for the permits, but those have yet to be scheduled.