Donlin Gold rebuilds church while working through permitting process

August 27, 2019

Donlin Gold is working with partners Novagold Resources, Barrick Gold Corp, the Kuskokwim Corp. and Calista Corp. to acquire the needed permits to develop one of the largest known, undeveloped gold deposits in the world with probable reserves estimated at 33.8 million ounces of gold.

In addition to doing it due diligence in the permitting process for the mine in Alaska’s Yukon Kuskokwim region, Donlin Gold is also working to build positive relationships with the communities near the proposed mine. Alaska Public Media reported that Donlin Gold is currently renovating a church in Chuathbaluk in the middle Kuskokwim River.

Chuathbaluk’s Russian Orthodox church was first built in the late 1800s, the church was rebuilt in its current location in 1952. During the renovation icons and religious paintings that date back to 1914 have been found on the site.

The current church is about 70 years old and was in need of a new roof, a better stove, and insulation. Donlin Gold, which wants to build its gold mine 30 miles away from Chuathbaluk, stepped in and offered to pay for the fixes. Calista Corporation, which owns the mineral rights to the mine, took over the construction this year.

Donlin spokesperson Kristina Woolston called it the right thing to do.

“It’s important that, you know, that your neighbors show a vested interest, and this is something we are, you know, showing every day, year after year: that we’re investing now, and we’re investing in the future of these communities,” Woolston said.

Donlin’s community relations department is its largest, and the company has been making these efforts for decades. It has already rebuilt a church in Crooked Creek, the village closest to the mine. Donlin also helps communities remove waste.

“In Bethel, we just hosted its first annual recycling event,” Woolston said.

Donlin hands out lifejackets along the Kuskokwim River and donates to local nonprofits. Those investments cost about a million dollars each year.

Based on exploration results, the Donlin Gold project will be an environmentally sound, openpit gold minethatwould process approximately 55 kt/d (59,000 stpd) of ore for an estimated 27 years.

Infrastructure plans call for a power-generation plant, water-treatment plant, access roads, housing, two ports, a natural-gas pipeline and an airstrip.

Construction would take three to four years. Donlin Gold estimates that the proposed mine could produce an average of 1.1million ounces of gold annually during operation. This production level would make Donlin Gold one of the world’s largest gold mines.


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