RDC NEWS DIGEST
NATIVE CORPORATIONS HIT $5 BILLION MARK
Alaska Native corporations are generating more than $5 billion a result, there is considerable support for this project and a realistic year in revenue, according to a report by the Association of ANCSA hope for an economic boon to the community.” Presidents and CEOs.
“It is astonishing when I see these figures and realize the impact of what the corporations are doing,” said Vicki Otte, the association’s executive director.
The Barrow-based Arctic Slope Regional Corporation surpassed the $1 billion mark in annual revenues years ago, but last year Bristol Bay Native Corporation joined the $1 billion club for the first time. Also experiencing strong financial growth were Cook Inlet Region, Inc., NANA Regional Corporation and Chugach Alaska Corporation. Sixteen Native corporations, including 13 regional corporations and three village corporations, reported a combined $5.86 billion in revenue.
SHELL AND AEWC AGREE ON CONFLICT AVOIDANCE
Shell and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission have signed a conflict avoidance agreement for Shell’s 2007 drilling program in the Beaufort Sea.
Shell hopes to drill three exploration wells in its Sivulliq prospect, formerly Hammerhead, in western Camden Bay.
Under the agreement, Shell will only move one of its two Beaufort Sea drillships, the Frontier Discoverer, into the Sivulliq area until the fall Cross Island subsistence bowhead whale hunt is over. The Frontier Discover will cease drilling operations on Aug. 25, move out of the Sivulliq area within two days and return with the Kulluk drillship after the end of the hunt.
The conflict avoidance agreement forms a major and critical piece of a complex puzzle of permits and agreements Shell needs to start its drilling program. However, the state has yet to rule on a determination that Shell’s program is consistent with the Alaska Coastal Management Plan.
The North Slope Borough and several environmental organizations have appealed the air quality permits for the drilling operations, and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has placed a temporary hold on drilling, until after an Aug. 14 hearing.
NOME'S ROCK CREEK PROJECT WINS LEGAL BATTLE
An Anchorage judge ruled in favor of NovaGold Resources after a hearing in Alaska District Court on arguments by a Nome citizens group to halt construction of the Rock Creek gold mine near the Bering Sea town.
The plaintiffs argued that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 404 permit authorizing some of Rock Creek’s construction activities was issued in violation of the Clean Water Act. They were seeking an injunction to prevent wetlands from being disturbed.
Judge Ralph Beistline noted Rock Creek is located in “mining country” and that much of the land on which mining is proposed to take place was previously mined. In addition, the wetlands that are the subject of the dispute are surrounded by vast areas of pristine wetland that will not be impacted by the project, the judge said. The judge found the defendants complied with the law and proceeded in a manner that is sensitive to the environment.
Before starting construction, NovaGold Resources’ subsidiary Alaska Gold “went to great lengths to publicize its intentions and to obtain the support of the local community, two Native organizations, as well as state and federal agencies,” the judge wrote. “As a result, there is considerable support for this project and a realistic hope for an economic boon to the community.”
KENSINGTON PROJECT BENEFITS JUNEAU
A new report by the McDowell Group revealed that the Kensington gold mine project in Southeast Alaska has provided family-supporting livelihoods for nearly 400 workers, including $25 million in total annual labor income to Juneau and other residents, and $78 million spent with businesses in Juneau. The study noted a total investment of $238 million by Coeur Alaska will occur to bring the mine into development. The study projects annual tax revenues of $1.5 million to the City and Borough of Juneau from the mine.
While construction at the mine is 85 percent complete, work on the tailings facility has been shut down following a lawsuit by environmental groups. The company is attempting to resolve legal issues and work collaboratively to find a solution to the disposal of tailings so that Kensington may proceed with planned production.
ANTI-MINING WATER INITIATIVE DENIED CERTIFICATION
Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell has denied certification of an application for an initiative related to water and mining. The initiative would have set out water quality-related prohibitions for any new metallic mining operations over 640 acres in size.
According to Parnell, “The initiative would impermissibly allocate public lands and waters away from mining uses. The people, via Alaska’s constitution and statutes, reserved these powers of appropriation to the legislature.”
Parnell’s decision is currently being appealed.
AMEREF CELEBRATES 25 YEARS
The Alaska Mineral & Energy Resource Education Fund (AMEREF) is celebrating 25 years of providing Alaskans students with the knowledge and skills to make informed and objective decisions relating to mineral, energy and forest resources. AMEREF Executive Director Lee Clune has been working to update existing material, and to develop training for educators. Recent fundraising efforts include the Coal Classic Golf Tournament and generous centerpiece sponsorships at the RDC Annual Meeting. Upcoming events, including the Alaska Miners Association raffle and silent auction in Anchorage, will occur in November.
RDC WEBSITE SEES MORE THAN 150,000 VISITS
The RDC website has been updated with new and returning board members. Visit http://www.akrdc.org/membership/board to view the 2007-2008 board. New and renewing members of RDC are updated at www.akrdc.org/links/memberlinks.html. RDC website visitor hits is expected to exceed 150,000 for a second month. A link to the Petroleum News Alaska Book Club is also available on the RDC site, where you can learn more about the club. Visit http://www.akrdc.org/issues/oilgas/pnabookclub.html.
Note: The PNA Book Club link is no longer active.