Kwigillingok passed a resolution against the proposed Donlin gold mine last week. Tribal Administrator Darrel John says that the tribe has opposed the mine since it was first proposed in 2007.
“The tribal members have concerns that once the Donlin Gold mine gets going, it’s going to affect the resources we depend on our livelihood,” John said. “It’s not only for the village of Kwigillingok, it’s also the villages on the Kuskokwim.”
John says that the recent Donlin protests didn’t influence the tribe’s decision to pass the resolution. Two other tribes, Napakiak and Kongiganak, passed similar resolutions last week; all of them are concerned about the mine’s impacts to salmon and other fish habitats. The proposed mine could be one of the biggest in the world if developed.
Donlin has said repeatedly that it will continue to address concerns and “misconceptions” about the mine with local communities. So far, six tribes in the region oppose the mine.
Meanwhile, more than 100 Y-K Delta residents, six tribes, and one organization sent a letter to Gov. Bill Walker last week protesting the mine. Earthjustice, a national environmental group, sent a letter on behalf of four other tribes to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation asking them to deny a crucial permit for the company.