Mining & Minerals Projects
Mining and Community Values
If developed the proposed Donlin Creek Mine may cover 27,000 acres of landed owned by the Calista and Kuskokwim corporations to produce two million ounces of gold a year over the next couple of decades. Profit and income top the list of obvious advantages, with new jobs, increase in the standard of living and a claim to a piece of the Great Alaskan Dream following closely behind.
Despite the need for jobs, village elders and environmentalists still worry about such issues as damage to the ecosystem, a rise in ecotourism, loss of subsistence lifestyle, air pollution for increased production of electricity and more roads, dust, sewage, noise, slurry and catastrophic spills.
Recognizing a desperate need for common ground and common knowledge, the Cooperative Extension Service, the Alaska Mining Association, the Association of Village Council Presidents and the American Geological Institute commissioned the Alaska Community Values and Mining Project.
Travis Hudson, director of environmental affairs for the American Geological Institute, and Kelley Hegarty, a community and regional planning consultant, developed the presentation. In spring 2005 and 2006 Anchorage resident and natural resources and mining expert Bob Loeffler presented that information at two-day workshops in villages and cities along the Yukon-Kuskokwim rivers delta – 18 presentations overall.
Alaska Prospectors' Program
The Rural Development Project partially funds the Delta Mining Training Center, a non-governmental education program in Delta Junction, to develop and conduct mining education workshops. Topics include:
- Rocks and Minerals Identification
- Navigation and GPS
- Outdoor Safety and Survival
- Basic Prospecting Skills
- Placer Mining
The program began in 2001. DMTC offers the workshops in Bethel, Aniak, Nome and Dillingham.
Solid Waste Management
Dan Lung, who recently received a Masters Degree in Rural Development from UAF, assisted the Kalskag Traditional Council with a community waste stream analysis as part of the Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan for Kalskag.
This project is the first of its kind for villages in the middle Kuskokwim River region and will eventually support a broader regional solid waste management planning process to benefit other communities. The Rural Development Project will establish a baseline for existing trash flow to compare to the environmental impacts of upcoming mining development. To that extent, the study evaluated trash from three schools, three local businesses, two community office buildings and 24 residential properties in Upper and Lower Kalskag for two weeks in October and November 2006 to represent winter months. The results are available in the publications section.
Mining in Rural Canada
Mining involves more than simply extracting minerals and metals from the earth. This industry is often the first in remote regions and it can profoundly impact local communities in jobs, migrant workers, land, water, air and noise, loss of wildlife habitat, increased tax revenue, strain on existing infrastructure and diversifying economies. With that thought in mind, this case study will explore the well-documented history of mining in several Canadian communities with climates, aboriginal populations and natural resources similar to Alaska communities about to undergo mining development. Focusing on the effects of mining on rural economies - particularly the local job market - this information will then help Alaskans make educated choices about their future.