I am writing this brief article related to the “Stand for Salmon” ballot initiative that will be voted on this November by ALL ALASKANS.
This is my opinion and my opinion only!
First, I want to make it clear that I am not an attorney and not affiliated with any governmental agency. I own a business license that is not actively used right now under the business name of “Lamont Consulting.”
I am an active commercial fisherman on the Lower Yukon River in Alaska and have been involved with commercial fishing for over 50 years on the mouth of the Yukon River. I have witnessed the growth and decline of commercial harvests of salmon throughout the last 5 decades. Commercial fishing for salmon on the mouth of the Yukon is the largest economy we have and have had since the early 1900’s, it impacts thousands of indigenous fishers along the entire length of the Yukon River in Alaska and Canada. AND if “Stand for Salmon” is passed by the Alaskan voters I might as well (with all the other indigenous and other races of Alaskans) leave my home state to the Green Environmentalists (with powerful wealthy donors) that live in the contiguous 48 states to be the voice and make decisions for Alaska! I do not support “Stand for Salmon” it will greatly affect the economy and growth of Alaska.
Alaska currently has regulations that protect the resources of our great state. There are many safeguards currently in place that guides the development of our natural resources, we do not need an outside group to tell us how to develop, where to develop and when to develop our Great States’ resources.
We also do not need non-Alaskans telling us what processes we need to complete before we can build schools, airports, community centers, fish processing plants, health facilities, water and sewer projects, and many other much needed critical infrastructures on our lands. PLEASE vote “NO” on the “Stand for Salmon” ballot measure this November.
When I first heard about and saw some of the propaganda related to “Stand for Salmon” I thought… Wow! This is going to help me get more salmon and therefore, make more money. What I didn’t realize was that it had nothing to do with salmon. Many Alaskans are probably like me and don’t realize how the “Stand for Salmon” ballot measure will affect the development of our Great States’ resources, so please vote “NO” on the “Stand for Salmon” ballot this November 6, 2018!
John H. Lamont
An opportunity for our people to thrive again
People worry that Donlin might ruin the subsistence way of life; but traditional livelihoods are already getting harder and harder. People can’t afford boats and snow machines, nor the gas or parts to keep them running. It isn’t like the old days when things were simpler and cheaper. The cost of living in rural Alaska, especially the YK region, is very high, and people struggle with even the very basic necessities. I see it first-hand.
With no opportunities to make a living, more and more people are turning to government assistance and/or leave their villages which is detrimental to small rural communities like mine, Red Devil. Traditional livelihoods are being lost and forgotten because people simply can’t afford to do what they used to do.
Our people need opportunities to thrive again, and through education and employment, they can remain in their villages and live fuller and richer lives, not just economically, but socially and culturally as well. Donlin would be the best thing that could happen to this part of the country.
Red Devil, AK
Congressman Young Wins Republican Primary
Congressman for All Alaska Don Young shared the following statement after winning the Republican nomination for Alaska’s sole Congressional seat:
I am truly humbled to receive the support of Alaskans once again as I fight for them and stand up for our state in Congress,” said Congressman Young. “As I look ahead to the general election, I am motivated to continue sharing my vision for a stronger and more unified Alaska. The encouragement and enthusiasm of the Alaskan people has energized me to build upon the work we have already done and to keep working for the future of the state and the nation. I remain committed to protecting Alaska’s many interests so families can grow, businesses can thrive and our economy can rebuild.”
Alaskans for Don Young
World of mining has changed – for the better
It’s an exciting time to be in the mining business. With the receipt of the federal Record of Decision (ROD) and two major federal permits, the comprehensive EIS process created by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970 is now complete.
Thank you for your input, patience, support and guidance.
Although receiving our federal permits to proceed is a huge milestone, there are still years of work to do. We expect to get most of the major state permits by early 2019, and our owners will decide next steps based on a variety of factors including project economics. Additional studies, including design and engineering, need to take place before construction can begin. Construction will take three to four years. Once built, the mine has an estimated lifespan of over 27 years, with the potential for greater longevity with additional resources.
The development of Donlin Gold would mark the beginning of a new era of economic development in the YK region. You will see this increased activity across all sectors of your economy, not just at the mine itself, but in your pocketbooks. The hundreds of jobs the mine will support will pay well – an average of $99,000 at Red Dog – and the royalties and usage fees we will pay our partners – Calista Corporation and The Kuskokwim Corporation – will improve the lives of their shareholders.
Similar to what the NANA shareholders have experienced at Red Dog, the shift work will allow Calista shareholders opportunities to provide for their families through subsistence activities and the gratification that goes along with a job that can pay for family needs.
Mining has changed a lot in recent years and we are committed to best practices by incorporating the latest technologies and doing things right. That’s why we decided to install a synthetic lining underneath the tailings-storage facility and up the dam face. That’s not required by regulations, but it makes the operation safer. We will use a downstream, rock-filled, dam-construction technique anchored to bedrock because it’s the safest option, with proven success worldwide. It will be similar to the dam at Ft. Knox, which easily handled a major earthquake in 2002. In fact, a survey of tailings-dam failures over the past 100 years revealed no major incidents regarding this type of dam design.
We have made significant advances in reducing water needs by recycling it repeatedly in the milling process and collecting what falls naturally in the pit and waste-storage areas. The water we release will be treated through an advanced water-treatment facility to meet drinking standards at the point of release. The treated water will contain trace amounts of mercury and arsenic that is less than what currently occurs naturally.
There’s a whole new, safe way to transport, store and destroy cyanide, thanks in part to stringent regulations and industry best practices.
Mercury is naturally occurring and is a major concern in parts of the region, including the area around the mine. Our plans include a state-of-the-art system to capture 99 percent of mercury during the ore processing, and an aggressive plan to reduce fugitive dust. The recovered mercury will be stored in sealed containers before shipment to a federally approved facility.
In the last 10 years, we have had nearly 400 village meetings, presentations, tours and workshops. We also send a regular newsletter to residents throughout the YK region. We listened to you when you sounded the alarm about the volume of barge traffic on the Kuskokwim. We went back to the drawing board and came up with a cleaner solution – switching the power plant from diesel to natural gas, delivered via a 14-inch, 312-mile pipeline from Cook Inlet. This solution reduced fuel-barge traffic by two-thirds.
To reduce long-term concerns, we have chosen a dry-closure option for the tailings-storage facility. Excess water would be pumped to the pit lake and the tailings area covered with rock and gravel. The tailings-storage facility, along with the waste-rock facility and other disturbed areas, would be reclaimed by being re-contoured, covered with soil as needed and seeded with a grass mix. To ensure that reclamation is properly carried out and to pay for ongoing monitoring, we will be required by the State of Alaska to provide financial assurance that amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Our commitment to the YK region is to build, operate and close a project that protects subsistence resources and offers economic opportunities to the people of the region – Donlin Gold has the potential to improve the lives of many – especially the youth. If Red Dog is any indicator, Donlin Gold will not only provide jobs, increased economic opportunities and higher household incomes, it will lead to elevated graduation rates, better student performance and new career paths. And it will do this with minimal impact on subsistence.
Every Calista shareholder will directly or indirectly participate in the success of this project. Thank you for inviting us to develop this world-class resource.
Andy Cole, General Manager