Friday Final Day To Comment On Donlin Preliminary Air Quality Permit

May 11, 2017

Bethel resident and Calista shareholder Elias Venes (left) talks with Donlin Gold General Manager Andy Cole (right) at a Donlin open house at the Bethel Cultural Center on May 10, 2017.
Credit Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK Public Media

The State has issued a preliminary air quality permit for the Donlin Gold project.  The 30-day opportunity for the public to submit comments on that permit closes this Friday at 4:30 p.m. The preliminary permit is the first the proposed mining project has received.

Federal agencies can begin issuing or denying permits once the mine’s final environmental impact statement is released. That document will describe the project’s possible and perceived environmental impacts.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is developing the document and plans to publish it early next year in March 2018.

Before that happens, Donlin has some benchmarks to meet.

First, it’s creating a strategy for restoring or preserving wetlands to compensate for the land that would be affected by the project.

Also, Donlin is helping to develop a plan for what it would do if it finds any artifacts or cultural sites while developing the project, above Crooked Creek or along the proposed natural gas line.

And finally, it’s completing a proposal for how Donlin barges would communicate with people living, boating, and fishing, along the Kuskokwim River.

Donlin is accepting suggestions for how this communication could work. One idea is to send a skiff ahead of the barges to talk with boaters and fishermen on the river. Another idea is to post the barge schedule to Facebook and to create a plan for resolving conflicts should they arise.