There isn’t much at the proposed mine site right now: just a long airstrip, with clusters of sturdy buildings in the middle of green mountains close to the Middle Kuskokwim River. But if completed, the Donlin gold mine would be one of the biggest in the world.
Even after decades of talk about getting affordable natural gas to the Interior, Fairbanks as of yet has only a limited supply of natural gas. And unlike many other places in the country, it’s not price-competitive with coal.
Engineers at the Canadian mine that discharged millions of cubic yards of tailings stand accused of negligence by their professional peers. The copper-gold mine waste discharged into salmon-producing rivers that are important to Alaska fisheries.