Donlin Gold announces plans for summer exploratory drilling season

Donlin runway and camp site in summer 2014.
The proposed Donlin Gold mine would be one of the biggest gold mines in the world if completed. (Dean Swope/KYUK)

During the week of May 14, Donlin Gold announced plans to continue with exploratory drilling for the 2021 summer season. The announcement came just a week before the State of Alaska is expected to issue a verdict on a key permit for the company.

Donlin said that as of last season, it has discovered higher grade thickness than previously expected at its mine site. According to a paper from Canadian mining company Peloton, that means more efficient gold extraction. Donlin said that its 2021 drilling season results could be used to update its feasibility study.

By May 27, Alaska Commissioner of Environmental Conservation Jason Brune could either rescind or uphold a 2018 state water quality certificate that was issued to the proposed mine. If the state water quality certificate is rescinded, Donlin may not be able to access another critical permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Donlin has hired workers from 18 Y-K Delta communities for the season. The company is requiring workers to follow pandemic safety protocols and encourages all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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