Protecting Public Access and Safety
Easements on Calista Land to be Relocated During Mine Operations
Adapted from Storyknife, May/June 2022 edition
One topic related to the Donlin Gold Project that doesn’t get much attention—but is important—is how the public will travel through the surrounding area, when the project moves forward.
Fifteen public easements cross land owned by Calista Corporation and The Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC) in the direct vicinity of future mine operations. Even though public use is extremely low, the easements need to be rerouted or vacated (removed) during mine operations for the safety of mine employees and anyone else traveling on them.
“Relocating the easements aligns with our overall goals for Donlin Gold—to provide significant benefits to our Shareholders through safe and responsible mine development,” says Calista Vice President of Land and Natural Resources Tisha Kuhns.
Proposed Easement Plan
Calista, TKC and Donlin Gold need to work with the State of Alaska to determine how to provide alternate public access during mine operations.
The State of Alaska is involved because it has authority over many different kinds of public easements. For example, anyone who wants to reroute or vacate certain easements (such as the route from Crooked Creek to Iditarod) needs approval from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which gathers public input before issuing a decision.
A proposed plan has been developed which involves rerouting the easements—restoring some of them to their original location after the mine closes, and others to be permanently closed and relocated.
The Calista Board of Directors has approved the creation of new easements on Calista land to provide alternative public access, and in late June, DNR issued a proposed decision and public notice related to the easement plan for Donlin Gold.
Calista invited all Tribes and Village Corporations in the Yukon Kuskokwim Region to participate in an informational call about the proposed easement plan. Before the meeting on May 11, Calista also distributed to the Tribes and Village Corporations detailed maps depicting the easements and how they can be rerouted to avoid mine operations.
“Relocating the easements aligns with our overall goals for Donlin Gold—to provide significant benefits to our Shareholders through safe and responsible mine development.” – Tisha Kuhns, Calista Vice President of Land and Natural Resources
During the call with Tribes and Village Corporations, Calista and Donlin Gold staff provided an overview and addressed questions related to the easements. A TKC representative also provided brief comments regarding the easement plan.
While the State of Alaska has decision-making authority on rerouting easements, Calista staff are available to discuss the topic with Tribes and other organizations. Anyone is welcome to request the easement maps, ask questions or request an additional meeting by contacting the Calista Land and Natural Resources Department via our Contact Us page.