Kuskokwim Tribes to Mining Companies and Their Shareholders: Get Out of Donlin Creek

photo by Greg Lincoln

by YK Delta Tribes

Tribal Leaders Call on Barrick and Nova Gold to Divest from Proposed Mine in Southwest Alaska.

May 4, 2021, Eek, Alaska – As Barrick Gold (NYSE: GOLD) shareholders meet in Toronto, Ontario and, virtually, for the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian-based mining giant, Tribal governments 3500 miles away on Alaska’s Kuskokwim River Delta have again sent a formal request to Barrick Gold’s Board of Directors, owners in the proposed Donlin Gold Project, asking them to withdraw financial support from development of a mine which is proposed to be built in the headwaters of the Kuskokwim River. Stating that “the proposed project poses too much risk to our lands and our food sources which as Sovereign Tribes we have an obligation to protect, and to ensure responsible development offering sustainability for future generations.”

The same letter was sent to Barrick Gold’s Investor Relations last year, with no response given to the Tribes’ concerns, nor any indication that the information was shared with shareholders.

Development of the Donlin Prospect is officially opposed by the Association of Village Council Presidents representing 56 Tribal Governments in the region; the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and the National Congress of American Indians.

If constructed, Barrick claims it would be one of the world’s largest open-pit gold mines. This project would dramatically change Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim region, threatening the health and well-being of residents, communities, and wildlife for generations.

Construction of the mine would undeniably, and permanently damage water, fish and game resources, and the subsistence lifestyle of the Yukon Kuskokwim River Delta.

“Our Tribal Governments are calling on Barrick to live up to their promise of respecting human rights by listening to the thousands of Tribal Citizens in our region who are asking them to stand down in their zealous pursuit of developing what would be one of the world’s largest goldmines in the headwaters of our Mother Kuskokwim River. This company claims to have a zero tolerance policy for human rights violations and therefore without free, prior and informed consent to develop on our traditional lands should back down immediately,” said George Alexie, Tribal President of Native Village of Eek.

The full list of Tribes signed onto the divestment request letter: Orutsararmiut Native Council, Native Village of Eek, Kasigluk Traditional Council, Chuloonawick Native Village, Kongiganak Traditional Council, Native Village of Tununak, Chevak Traditional Council, Native Village of Napakiak, Kotlik Traditional Council, and Village of Ohogamiut.

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