Nunavut Alaska Meeting Focuses On Donlin

The Donlin Mine would impact 3,500 acres of wetlands.
Credit Katie Basile / KYUK

The Nunavut Alaska Provisional Government held a meeting in Bethel over the course of two days, and focused on the proposed Donlin Gold mine. However, no resolutions either supporting or opposing the proposed project were passed by attendees. The group aims to unite all 56 of the villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Mike Williams Sr., from Akiak, heads Nunavut Alaska. He says that the organization is neutral on the mine.

"We had designed the agenda to have a good conversation on the update on Donlin Gold," Williams said. 

About 30 people attended. Representatives from Donlin Gold and the Calista Regional Native Corporation, which leased the subsurface rights to Donlin, made presentations and fielded questions about their plan to operate one of the world’s biggest gold mines in the Y-K Delta.

Donlin staff included company spokesman Kurt Parkan, who has attended meetings with Nunavut Alaska before. Parkan says that this gathering provided more time to update people on the company’s progress.

No one from the Yukon-Kuskokwim River Alliance, which opposes the mine, attended in person. People who were there say that Dave Cannon, a former fish biologist who assists the local organization, sent a recording that outlined concerns about the project.

Donlin Gold received two major federal permits earlier this week from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Land Management. That was a major milestone in the company’s permitting process. Donlin needs 100 permits before it can start mining, and expects to get the major ones out of the way this year.