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

Anaan’arar Sophie Swope, Director, Mother Kuskokwim Tribal Coalition, and other Tribal leaders meet with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in Washington, D.C.
April 23, 2024 Press Release

Mother Kuskokwim Tribal Coalition deeply disappointed in Alaska’s Congressional delegation’s support for Donlin Gold Mine

Press release by the Mother Kuskokwim Tribal Coalition: Alaska's delegation sides with industry over Tribal requests, salmon in filing an amicus brief in support of the mine

October 2, 2023 document

ONC et al Appeal of State Water Rights Permits, Donlin Mine

Orutsararmiut Native Council (ONC) and the Native Village of Eek today filed an appeal in the Alaska Supreme Court to review a lower court decision upholding 12 state water rights permits for the Donlin Gold Mine project.

A boat in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, under golden sunset colors and clouds.
October 2, 2023 Press Release

Southwest Alaska Tribes File Two Separate State Appeals Challenging the Donlin Gold Mine

State of Alaska agencies failed to fully consider harmful impacts of the massive gold mine when issuing water permits and a water quality certificate