News-Miner opinion: It’s been quite the month for the two companies behind the proposed Donlin Gold project in Southwest Alaska.
It was just over a week ago that the companies — NOVAGOLD Resources Alaska Inc. and Barrick Gold US Inc. — announced that the Donlin Gold project had received two key permits from the state. One, from the Department of Environmental Conservation, is the waste management permit.
The other, from the Department of Natural Resources, approves of the project’s reclamation plan, which is the process the companies will undertake to close the mine and maintain the site at the end of the mine’s estimated life of at least 27 years. For that permit, the companies had to assure the state that funds would be available for the reclamation.
And in December, Donlin Gold officials agreed to protect some wetlands owned by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority in the Cook Inlet area to satisfy a requirement that it offset the acreage the Donlin mine would damage.
The proposed mine, which is estimated to hold 39 million ounces of gold, would disturb about 2,800 acres of Southwest Alaska wetlands but would need to find offsets for about 2,000 acres.