Reaching important milestones in advancing permitting of Donlin Gold.
Permitting began for Donlin Gold in mid-2012 with the submission of the initial permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the "Corps”), the lead permitting agency. Permitting in Alaska is a clearly defined environmental review process which is coordinated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a procedural law that governs the process by which most major projects in the United States are evaluated.
Current permitting activities at Donlin Gold are focused on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS is the most time consuming aspect of the NEPA process and in large part, drives the overall permitting timeline for the project. The process involves multiple public comment opportunities and will require more than 100 permit applications. Many issues have been identified and thoroughly considered in the EIS process with significant and early input by cooperating agencies as well as the public. The EIS is comprised of four sections:
- Outline of the purpose and need for the development of the proposed mine and the benefit it would bring to the stakeholders of Donlin Gold’s Alaska Native Corporation partners, Calista Corporation and The Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC).
- Identify and analyze a reasonable range of alternatives to the mine development proposed by Donlin Gold which comprise variations on certain mine site facility designs, as well as local transportation and power supply options.
- Prepare an environmental analysis of the proposed action and reasonable alternatives (including a no action alternative), which identifies and characterizes the potential physical, biological, social, and cultural impacts relative to the existing baseline conditions. This portion constitutes the most extensive part of the EIS.
- Describe potential mitigation measures intended to reduce or eliminate the environmental impacts described in the impact analysis section.
The Corps filed the draft EIS in November 2015. Following the filing of the draft EIS, the Corps conducted 17 meetings in communities across the Y-K region and in Anchorage. The six-month public comment period for the draft EIS was completed on May 31, 2016. The public comment meetings gave the Corps an opportunity to present an overview of the draft EIS, which evaluates the potential environmental, social and economic impact of the proposed project together with alternatives. The meetings also served as an excellent platform for stakeholders to ask questions and provide comments on the draft EIS. The Corps is now reviewing the comments received and will determine how to address each one, including incorporating additional information and making revisions to the EIS as appropriate. As disclosed in their latest schedule, the Corps anticipates the publication of the final EIS in early 2018. All Donlin Gold EIS documents, including the Corps’ time table for the Donlin Gold EIS process, can be found on their website at www.donlingoldeis.com.
Concurrent with the NEPA analysis, Donlin Gold continues to work with State and Federal agencies to advance all other required permits and approvals, including the air quality, pipeline authorizations, water use and fish habitat permits, as well as land and shoreline lease and right-of-way approvals. When the permitting process nears completion, the owners of Donlin Gold will make a decision on the next stage: construction. NOVAGOLD has sufficient financial resources to advance Donlin Gold through permitting .