Alaska development authority signs land access agreement with Native corporation for Ambler Road project

Map showing the BLM-approved route for the Ambler Road
A map of the proposed Ambler Road project (Bureau of Land Management)

In the latest move forward for the controversial Ambler Road project, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority reached an agreement with regional Native corporation Doyon to conduct survey and feasibility studies on the corporation’s lands.

The proposed 211-mile road would stretch west from the Dalton Highway to the Ambler Mining District in Northwest Alaska. The area is rife with mineral deposits, including zinc, gold, silver and cobalt. The road has drawn controversy from environmentalists and subsistence advocates over it crossing Gates of the Arctic National Park and potential impacts to caribou migration.

The land along the road’s route near the highway and the village of Evansville is owned by Doyon, the state’s largest private landowner. The agreement is not a right of way and does not guarantee long-term access to the area by AIDEA or the road project.

In a statement, Doyon President and CEO Aaron Schutt said that the corporation has not changed its position on the project, neither opposing or supporting it.

AIDEA plans to continue its summer field activities along the proposed route. The current budget for those activities totals about $13 million, a cost the state corporation will split 50-50 with Ambler Metals, the primary mining company interested in developing the Ambler Mining District.

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