Donlin Gold LLC has applied for permits to develop an open pit, hardrock gold mine about 10 miles north of the community of Crooked Creek, in southwest Alaska. (277 miles west of Anchorage and 145 miles northeast of Bethel.) In addition to the mine site, the project has two other major components: transportation infrastructure and pipeline.
If built, the Donlin Gold project would produce gold from a major ore-body, through a subsurface lease with Calista Corporation, an Alaska Native regional corporation, and a surface use agreement with the Kuskokwim Corporation, a merged Alaska Native village corporation. Some components would be on State of Alaska and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. On the Cook Inlet side of the pipeline, a small portion of CIRI Inc. land would be affected.
The proposed project would take about 3 to 4 years to construct, with a projected mine life of approximately 27½ years. It would produce approximately one million ounces of gold per year for 27½ years. About 59,000 tons of ore would be processed onsite each day.
The mine and facilities would have a total footprint of about 16,300 acres. There is currently no road or rail access to the site, nor an existing power supply. Components of the mine site include:
- Excavated open pit, ultimately about 2.2 miles long, 1 mile wide, and 1,850 feet deep
- A waste treatment facility (tailings impoundment) about 1 mile long, ultimately covering 2,350 acres
- Waste rock facility covering approximately 2,300 acres
- Mill facility processing approximately 59,000 tons of ore per day
- Natural gas-fired power plant with a total connected load of 227 MW
A key piece of transportation infrastructure would be a proposed barge landing near Jungjuk Creek on the Kuskokwim River. The dock area would cover 5 acres. On the river, residents could expect to see 3 barge-trains pass each day the river is navigable. Transportation infrastructure would also include
- Upgraded dock facilities in Bethel
- 30-mile road from the mine site to the new barge landing
- 5,000-foot airstrip
The proposed pipeline would be a 313-mile, small-diameter (14-inch) natural gas pipeline from the west side of Cook Inlet, across the Alaska Range, to the proposed power plant.