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Community Engagement & Sponsorships

Community Engagement

Donlin Gold LLC has a strong community relations team focused on intensive outreach to regional stakeholders. Establishing collaborative working relationships with Y-K communities that function over the long term is essential in order to develop a solid foundation based on respect for the values, the culture, and the language of the people in the region – and to successfully advance the project. Relationship-building is only possible when based on a sincere approach of openness, constructive dialogue, and mutual respect. As an example of this approach, Donlin Gold LLC will continue to discuss options to mitigate or modify any project activities that could negatively affect stakeholders. Ongoing feedback on project activities is coordinated through the Donlin Advisory Technical Review and Oversight Committee (DATROC), which is composed of senior leadership from Calista and TKC, who advise the Donlin Gold LLC board on issues of specific interest to the communities.

Typical stakeholder engagement has also involved regular in-person meetings with key community leaders, community group update presentations, program development consultation, and responding to environmental issues, as well as education and assistance with health and safety matters. Over the years, we have specifically participated in hundreds of in-village visits in the Y-K region. Since early 2020, the sustained threat of the COVID-19 pandemic in Alaska has deepened already strong relationships while introducing the Donlin Gold LLC community relations team to new – and primarily virtual – collaborations with villages in the Y-K region. Donlin Gold LLC had more than 1,065 contacts with key individual stakeholders and community organizations across 56 communities in the Y-K region in 2021, many more than the pre-pandemic number of contact events, with most communication occurring by telephone or video conference. While we hope to return to more in-person engagement and interaction, the ability to expand the reach and communication channels with stakeholders has been incorporated into our 2022 outreach planning. From regular engagement with Tribal councils to seeking partnerships with new parties, staying connected and advancing key activities and projects throughout the region is welcomed and increases transparency. A detailed stakeholder engagement plan guides activity at the project level and uses stakeholder identification while considering level of responsibility, influence, proximity, dependency, and representation in the project region.


Donlin Gold LLC’s multi-decade collaboration on community development programs with Native Corporation partners is one aspect of the stakeholder outreach program. Another is the sponsorship of local initiatives, events, and stakeholders.

In winter 2020-21, Donlin Gold LLC, in partnership with TKC, the village of Crooked Creek, and the Napaimute Tribe, was the lead sponsor of a program to construct and maintain the upper portions of the ice road on the Kuskokwim River. The ice road greatly improves safety and access to nearby communities for residents in remote locations. At its completion in February 2021, the Kuskokwim River ice road was approximately 200 miles long.

Another initiative was a partnership with KSKO Radio to purchase hand-held radios for five middle Kuskokwim villages. This initiative expands the reach of public radio to communities where internet connectivity is lacking. Every home in this remote region now has access to important information from the Y-K region, including local news and weather updates.

The Kuskokwim 300 is one of the premiere mid-distance dog sled races in the world, covering a 300-mile trail stretching from Bethel across tundra and the Kuskokwim River to Aniak upriver and back. It is a popular regional event that is supported through community investment funding by Donlin Gold LLC. In January 2020, prior to the arrival of COVID-19 in Alaska, Pete Kaiser, a Donlin Gold LLC-sponsored musher and 2019 Iditarod sled dog race champion, won the Kuskokwim 300. He was born and raised in Bethel and is the first Yup’ik musher and the fifth Alaska Native to win an Iditarod championship.

Mr. Kaiser takes a leadership role in speaking with youth in the community about suicide prevention. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the United States among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. Based on CDC 2019 data, Alaska has the second-highest suicide rate of any state, and it is the leading cause of death among Alaska youth over the age of 15.

Donlin Gold LLC also sponsored four Iron Dog teams for the annual snowmobile race in February 2021. The Iron Dog is the world’s longest snowmobile race and covers more than 2,600 miles as it traverses the Alaskan backcountry. These races are a tradition in the region and receive much local support, international media coverage, and fans along
the route.

In fall 2021, Donlin Gold LLC entered into a sponsorship agreement with the Alaska School Activities Association to underwrite statewide sports, music programs, and other activities in the Y-K region and across Alaska. Donlin Gold LLC is also a sponsor of the RurAL CAP Elder Mentor Program that connects youth with Elders in Alaska to share their values and knowledge with younger generations and supports academic engagement and school readiness statewide.


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