About the working group:
The DGWG consists of people and groups within the Kuskokwim River region and throughout Alaska who are concerned about the future of the land and water surrounding the proposed mine. We encourage active participation from people that share our concerns or have information to offer. You can view a roster of our group by clicking here.
"The Donlin Creek Working Group aims to be a transparent,
publicly-accessible informational resource and forum to those concerned about the Donlin
Creek Mine’s impacts on the region’s land, air, and water.”
A brief overview of the proposed mine:
Donlin Gold Project is a proposed gold mine located 13 miles north of
the village of Crooked Creek, and about 270 miles northwest of
Anchorage. It has been extensively explored and drilled, and the permitting process is underway. The
surface estate is owned by the Kuskokwim Corporation (a village
corporation); the Calista Corporation (a regional Corporation) owns the
mineral rights underneath the mine site. The mine would be operated
by Donlin Gold LLC, a company owned 50/50 by Barrick Gold Corporation and NovaGold Resources.
mine would have a total footprint of about 25 square miles. Although
smaller, its scale is comparable to that of the proposed Pebble Mine,
and like Pebble, is in an ecologically important watershed from which
many people obtain large proportions of their food. One of the largest
concerns of the Donlin Project is the potential for mercury contamination, which can severely impact fish.
Donlin Gold LLC estimates that mining and milling would occur for approximately
27½ years and produce nearly 40 million ounces of gold. The mine would
be an open pit gold mine, with a waste rock facility, tailings storage
facility, ore stockpile, and mill. The pit would be 2.2 miles long, 1 mile wide, and 1,850 feet deep. The mine would
also require housing, an airstrip, river port, power plant, water
treatment plant, truck maintenance shop, offices, storage facilities,
and roads. Mining would be done using conventional methods (blasting
and trucking) and would process 59,000 metric tons of ore per day. Milling processes would involve vat cyanide leaching to recover the gold.
Large mines often have impacts that will essentially be permanent. Though reclamation
is required after a mine closes, many aspects of a modern mine require
long-term maintenance and oversight, and water that flows from closed
mine sites often needs to be treated forever, sometimes at great
expense, in order to prevent pollution. You can find case studies of
various examples here. Much more research is needed for Donlin to better determine possible water pollution risks.
The permitting process for the mine is underway. In August, 2012, Donlin Gold submitted a Plan
of Operations and the Wetlands Permit Application under Section 404 of the U.S.
Clean Water Act to the federal and state regulators, initiating the permitting
process. As required by the National
Environmental Protection Act, permitting the mine will require an environmental
impact statement (EIS). The US Army
Corps of Engineers has contracted URS Alaska, LLC to conduct the EIS. Scoping for the EIS will occur December 14,
2012- March 29, 2013. We
believe it's important to know as much about the mine proposal and to
comment as much as possible on it during the permitting process.
Huge amounts of energy
will be required to power this remote mine.
Donlin Gold proposes to run a 313-mile, small-diameter (14-inch) natural
gas pipeline from the west side of Cook Inlet to the mine. A
100 foot wide right of way would be cleared along the route of the pipeline,
along with airstrips, camps, and roads. The pipeline would be capable of transporting
approximately 50 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas.
For a more detailed fact sheet of the mine, click here.
Click here to go to the Donlin LLC website.