Calista’s Priorities for the Donlin Gold Project

Calista Corporation’s priority is supporting Shareholders by protecting our land, our traditional way of life and promoting economic opportunities that benefit our people. We support the Donlin Gold Project because strict environmental oversight, good-paying jobs and affordable energy brought by the project will allow us to grow healthy communities.”

Robert Beans, Calista Corp. Board Chair

The foundation of the economy of the Calista Region is subsistence, hunting, and fishing.” – Nelson Angapak
  • Environmental Protection
    • Our top priority for the Donlin Gold Project is protecting fish and our subsistence way of life.
    • Modern Alaska mines operating today have a strong track record for protecting and in several cases even enhancing local fisheries.
  • Our Input Matters
    • Calista owns the mineral resource at the Donlin Gold Project.
    • Through Calista’s direct oversight, we take an active role in project decisions. We will be actively involved mine development, operations, reclamation, and closure.
    • Since 2004, Calista’s Shareholder Relations Committee has held more than 200 meetings in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region to discuss Donlin and other topics important to Shareholders.
    • Since 2011, Donlin has hosted more than 300 meetings, not including public meetings related to public comment periods for its permits.
    • Input received from Calista Shareholders and YK communities resulted in Donlin revising its project design to reduce barge traffic by adding a natural gas pipeline and address concerns about mine tailings.
    • Subsistence knowledge and participation from Shareholders are a required component of project monitoring and oversight.[i]  We work with Donlin to ensure this requirement is being fulfilled.

     

    [i] Donlin Final Environmental Impact Statement, Chapter 5, Table 5.2-1

  • Modern Mining & Fish Protection
    • Decades of safe and successful open-pit operations at Alaska’s Red Dog and Fort Knox mines have protected and enhanced local ecosystems.
      • Due to Red Dog’s modern water treatment, water quality improved and Dolly Varden trout moved upstream, colonizing a local stream immediately below the mine.
      • The Fort Knox gold mine, opened in 1996, created a wetland complex in an area that had been disturbed by historic mining and established self-sustaining healthy fish and wildlife populations immediately downstream of its operations.[i]
    • Donlin is required to discharge water that meets the most stringent water quality standards, resulting in discharges that are cleaner than natural downstream water quality.
    • Donlin has committed to restore 1.5 miles of stream impaired by historic placer mining in the upper Crooked Creek watershed, providing accessible habitat for resident fish and coho salmon.
    • The State of Alaska requires extensive aquatic monitoring for large mines, providing a continual checkup on high-value species and overall ecological indicators. Donlin has begun monitoring this year—many years before any mining begins. The findings will be published for public review annually.

     

    [i] Red Dog and Fort Knox examples based on Alaska Department of Fish and Game monitoring data.

  • Not All Dams are the Same
    • Alaska’s two large surface mines (Red Dog and Fort Knox) have highly-regulated modern dams that demonstrate every day that we can prevent the serious failures that have occurred in less-regulated areas of the world.
    • Donlin is using the safest dam construction method (downstream design) which features a wider and more stable “pyramid” structure built entirely on solid bedrock.
    • No significant accidents have occurred worldwide with the downstream type of tailings dam design selected for the Donlin Gold Project.
    • Donlin has also proposed an impermeable liner beneath the tails (not required by regulation) as a best practice for controlling any potential for unintended leakage from the facility.
    • Recent social media posts with alarming pictures of tailings accidents show dams that did not use the downstream design. Often, those projects used inherently unstable materials below the dam or as part of the dam foundation.
    • Before, during and after construction, Donlin must undergo rigorous dam safety reviews, continuous monitoring and inspections by the operator, the Engineer of Record and the State of Alaska Dam Safety team to verify safety, stability and compliance.
  • Thriving Communities
    • Donlin Gold is an opportunity to strengthen our communities—reducing unemployment and providing cash income necessary to continue our subsistence lifestyle.
    • The project requires building robust infrastructure (gas pipeline and broadband) that provide an opportunity to reduce the costs of energy, goods, and services in our communities.
  • Hiring Shareholders, Descendants and their Families
    • Donlin Gold’s lease with Calista requires a hiring preference at the mine site for Shareholders and their families.
    • The project prioritizes hiring from the YK Region and achieved an 80% local hire rate for Donlin work crews in the current year.
    • Donlin Gold offers many opportunities for living-wage jobs in our Region on a rotational basis, providing extended periods of time at home to carry out our subsistence lifestyle.
    • The estimated five years of construction and 27+ years of operation can provide employment for several generations of Shareholders and their families.
  • Benefits to All Alaska Native Shareholders
    • Donlin Gold funds scholarships, vocational training, and many other services to Shareholders in the YK Region. It currently pays “advance” royalties that also benefit Calista Shareholders and their families.
    • Royalties from future gold production will be shared with all Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs), including Village Corporations in our region and statewide.[i]
    • Donlin Gold is the next known opportunity to continue sharing a vital source of income—7(i) and 7(j) payments from Native-owned lands—among ANCs and their Shareholders.
    • Mining at NANA’s Red Dog Mine is expected to end within 10 years.
    • Seven of every 10 dollars provided to Village Corporations through 7(j) payments between 2015 and 2018 came from revenues from Red Dog[ii]
    • More than half of Village Corporations surveyed are reliant on these payments[iii]. ANC’s and Village Corporations statewide need to be thinking about subsequent projects that could help replace this revenue when it ends.

     

    [i] ANCSA Section 7(i) & (j)

    [ii] ANCSA Regional Association reports

    [iii] ANVCA annual member surveys

  • Contact us about Donlin

    Please contact the Calista Land & Natural Resources Department if you have questions or would like to request a meeting regarding the Donlin Gold Project.