Orutsararmiut Native Council opposed Donlin mine

A survey conducted by the Orutsararmiut Native Council in Bethel of over 300 tribal members found that most tribal members oppose the proposed Donlin Gold mine.

Results of the survey, released by ONC on Wednesday, Nov. 3, asked for residents and ONC tribal members’ opinions on the safety and environmental protect assurances of the Donlin Gold project. It also asked about their subsistence reliance on the Kuskokwim River. Over 300 residents of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta responded to the 18-question survey, they said.

Survey highlights included:

  •  88% of respondents indicated they are shareholders of the regional Alaska Native corporation Calista.
  • 98% said they care deeply about the subsistence life and have opinions on the Donlin project.
  • 98% indicated that they have a strong relationship with the environment and place value on gathering subsistence foods year-round.
  • 87% said they are aware that the Donlin project would impact their community, including potential for mercury pollution, effects on land and river subsistence gathering and local economic boost with increased job opportunities.
  • 70% said they have low confidence that the project would protect air, water and land resources.
  • 66% indicated awareness of the project plan for transporting spill risk substances like mercury and cyanide.

Zack Brink, executive director of ONC, said it is clear that people have serious concerns about impacts to human health, the environment and the Kuskokwim River from a massive increase in barge traffic carry8ing cyanide and other chemicals, a major gas pipeline with road access and other impacts that building the largest open pit mine in Alaska would bring to the region.

“Our tribal council has directed our tribe to do all we can to prevent the development of this project, which is so clearly being pushed forward against the will of the people,” Brink said.