Challenging the Donlin Gold Mine

The massive industrial operation will destroy thousands of acres of wetlands and streams, create billions of tons of waste, cause permanently elevated levels of dangerous metals in local waters, require permanent water treatment, and pose an enduring threat to the communities who have subsisted in the region for millennia.


Chevak Traditional CouncilCook InletkeeperNative Village of EekNative Village of KwigillingokOrganized Village of KwethlukOrutsararmiut Traditional Native CouncilTuluksak Native Community


Regional Office / Program

Case Overview

A consortium of Tribal governments from the Kuskokwim region, represented by Earthjustice, are fighting Donlin Gold, a mining project owned by Canadian-based mining giants NovaGold and Barrick Gold.

If it is constructed, the proposed Donlin Gold mine will be one of the world’s largest open-pit mines.

Located 10 miles north of the village of Crooked Creek on a tributary of Alaska’s Kuskokwim River headwaters, the project will dramatically change the Yukon Kuskokwim region, threatening the health and well-being of residents, communities, and wildlife for generations.

Construction of the mine may permanently damage water, fish and game resources, and the subsistence lifestyle of the Yukon Kuskokwim River Delta. Donlin’s proposed reclamation and closure plan is of great concern to Tribal leaders, who demand a plan that protects future generations who will have to live with the consequences of the Donlin project for all time.

Many residents across the Yukon-Kuskokwim region practice a subsistence lifestyle, and see Donlin’s mining development as a major threat to their way of life.

Kuskokwim River, in southwest Alaska.
Kuskokwim River, in southwest Alaska. The Donlin mine's massive industrial operation will destroy thousands of acres of wetlands and streams and cause permanently elevated levels of dangerous metals in local water. (Peter Griffith / NASA)

Case Updates

Ten small boats on the bank of the river, with no people
July 21, 2023 Article

Alaska Tribes Wage Bold Fight Against Gold Mine

The massive Donlin Gold Mine, if built, would pose grave risks to Kuskokwim River communities.

The Kuskokwim River provides a critical source of wild food and serves as a bedrock of identity and cultural values for Alaska Native Tribal citizens and community members living downstream from the Donlin mine site.
April 6, 2023 Update

Southwest Alaska Tribes Fight the World’s Largest Pure Gold Mine

The Donlin Gold Mine could soon be built along the Kuskokwim River in Southwest Alaska, threatening a vital ecosystem and Native ways of life.

April 5, 2023 Press Release

Southwest Alaska Tribes Sue in Federal Court to Halt the Donlin Gold Mine

The massive proposed open-pit gold mine and its toxic chemicals threaten salmon, human health, and the Tribes’ traditional ways of life