ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska native corporation that is one of the primary landowning groups along a proposed road to mining prospects in Alaska’s interior says it wants an agreement with the state’s development bank concerning access to its property.
The native corporation, Doyon Ltd., said it has not been adequately consulted and needs more information before approving the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Project, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Wednesday.
Doyon Ltd. CEO Aaron Schutt expressed the Alaska Native regional corporation’s concerns in an open letter to Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority Executive Director Tom Boutin April 7.
Schutt emphasized the authority does not have an access agreement with Doyon either for a road right-of-way or additional field work on its land.
“AIDEA and its contractors do not have permission to enter or cross Doyon lands to conduct any field work in the summer of 2020, or at any time,” Schutt wrote, noting the authority does not have eminent domain authority granted to some state agencies.
While the authority has been involved with the Bureau of Land Management on environmental review, “AIDEA has for years failed to engage with Doyon in any meaningful communication” regarding the project, Schutt wrote.
The development and export authority approved funding for the project commonly known as the Ambler road.
The industrial road of nearly 200 miles (320 kilometers) would stretch from Dalton Highway to the Ambler Mining District northeast of Kotzebue and cross Gates of the Arctic National Park to access an undeveloped copper-zinc mineral belt.
Doyon is the largest private landowner in the state with title to nearly 18,000 square miles (46,620 square kilometers), including land the road would cross.
Doyon is open to discussing the project and requests that authority officials provide Doyon with technical information for the road portion that would cross its land, Schutt said.
Under the authority’s plan, the agency would own the road and recoup development costs through tolls paid by mining companies.
Many area residents have expressed concerns about the road, fearing a new route into the remote area could bring more hunters.
The authority is committed to “working with all stakeholders to move this project forward in a responsible manner” to provide economic growth and job opportunities, spokesman Karsten Rodvik said in an email.