Corps of Engineers Completes Donlin Gold EIS
Sunrise in the Yukon Kuskokwim region.
Credit: Donlin Gold
ANCHORAGE, AK—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed Donlin Gold mine project, a major step in the project’s effort to secure the permits it needs to construct and operate the mine located in the Yukon Kuskokwim region of Southwestern Alaska. The Donlin Gold project is located on land owned by the Calista Corporation (Calista) and The Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC), two Alaska Native corporations.
The Final EIS is a technical evaluation conducted in collaboration with numerous agencies and tribes of the potential impacts related to the proposed mine. This extensive review took nearly six years to complete. The EIS will now guide state and federal agencies as they consider issuing permits for the project. The EIS identifies potential impacts on the physical, biological and social environment from all phases of the proposed project, including construction, mine operation and closure. It addresses long-term, cumulative effects from this project and other activities in the region, while considering a reasonable range of alternatives consistent with the Corps’ legal mandates.
The EIS looks at mitigation methods, ways in which potential adverse impacts could be lessened. The EIS describes a range of practical mitigation and monitoring measures for protecting public health, water quality, wildlife and subsistence resources.
A Record of Decision (ROD) from the Corps, the next step in the extensive and thorough regulatory process, is expected later this year. The ROD will describe appropriate mitigation measures required to minimize potential project impacts.
Decisions on most federal and state permit applications are anticipated by early 2019. The Donlin Gold project will need more than 100 permits before it can begin construction and operations, in addition to investment approval from the project owners.
For over 20 years, Donlin Gold has worked extensively with Calista, which owns the mineral rights, and TKC, which owns the surface rights, in planning for the high-grade gold project, including exploration, environmental analysis and permit application preparation and review.
Donlin Gold LLC is owned equally by NOVAGOLD Alaska, Inc. and Barrick Gold US, Inc. and operates the Donlin Gold project under a Mining Lease with Calista and a Surface Use Agreement with TKC.