20 years and counting: Donlin Gold reaches major milestone; long path to production remains – by Shane Lasley (Mining News – December 13, 2015)


After 20 years of exploration and permitting, the Donlin Gold project is on the downhill side of gaining the permits needed to develop a mine at the 39-million-ounce gold deposit in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region of Southwest Alaska.

On Nov. 25, the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers released a draft Environmental Impact Statement for what will likely be among the largest gold-producing mines on the planet.

The Donlin Gold Mine being considered in the draft EIS includes a 53,500-metric-ton-per-day mill that is expected to produce an average of 1.1 million ounces of gold annually at a cash-cost of US$585 per ounce for 27 years. During its first five years of operation, the mine is designed to extract 1.5 million oz. of gold annually at a cash-cost of US$409 per ounce.

“Donlin Gold’s significant resource remains a great asset to Barrick,” said Kelvin Dushnisky, president, Barrick Gold Corp., which is co-owner of the project.

At the current rate, it is expected that the final EIS and all the permits needed to begin construction of the 1.1-million-ounce-per year gold mine will be in place sometime in 2017.

For residents of the Kuskokwim region – many of whom were part of the team that advanced Donlin Gold to the permitting stage and many more that are looking forward to taking part in the development and operation of the world-class gold mine – the release of the draft EIS is a long-awaited milestone along a path to economic prosperity for the area of Southwest Alaska they call home.

“(Donlin Gold) has the potential to create jobs and financial benefits for TKC (The Kuskokwim Corporation) and the people in the region, allowing them to continue living off this land for generations to come,” TKC President and CEO Maver Carey said upon hearing that the draft EIS has been released for public comment.

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