Donlin Gold (who proposes to build a pipeline on the Iditarod Trail) in the press.
"Operating the mine will require vast quantities of energy. The mine plan calls for an average load of 153 megawatts of electricity, roughly the same amount consumed by Fairbanks, Alaska’s second largest city. To generate this power, Donlin Gold will build a buried natural gas pipeline running from Beluga, on the west side of Cook Inlet, to the mine—a distance of 313 miles. The pipeline will run through Iditarod Country and along 75 miles of the Iditarod National Historic Trail. The mine plan estimates an annual consumption of 307 million cubic meters of natural gas, and 40 million gallons of diesel fuel. This would emit 597,675 tons of CO2 each year, equivalent to the average annual emissions of 112,959 passenger vehicles and exceeding the nation of Belize’s total emissions in 2008, making the mine a major contributor to global warming."
Read more here: Gold Mine Planned for Southwest Alaska Threatens Environment and Local Communities – EcoWatch: Uniting the Voice of the Grassroots Environmental Movement
Isn’t that awesome more jobs and more drilling in Cook inlet. Maybe the State of Alaska can make some money off the gas and we will be able to pay for all the art, culture and state amenities’ that many people like but do not want to pay taxes for but enjoy. Also if they put a road in it will be great to have the access to that area so all Alaskans can enjoy it. Can't wait for it to be finished it will be some great snow biking! Thanks for the posting
I believe they plan to ship the LNG from overseas. But you raise an interesting point about taxes; Alaska's mineral resources are taxed a very low rate. Oil and gas in Alaska pays, roughly, 21% but mineral development is taxed at 1.6%. For me, it is hard to see how Alaska gains much of anything from these developments especially when you consider that the toxic waste will require monitoring and treatment forever.
Here is a great article about mining tax revenue in Alaska: Mining Taxes and Revenue in Alaska
But that 21% from gas and oil pays for all the benefits that we Alaskan enjoy and do not pay taxes for until someone comes up with a better plan it is what it is.
The 1.6% mineral tax calculation was from production and tax data cited from 2005 and is highly reflective of the fact that majority of the large industrial mines in production at the time of the calculation were all fairly new projects, as there were essentially no new industrial large scale mines constructed in AK for 50 years or so up to when Red Dog was opened in 1989. Mine development requires a very large investment upfront to construct and the tax law allows for deduction of the development expenses from taxes to be spread over the first 15 years of operation. As the consruction deductions expire and mineral production continues, the effective tax rate calculation will skyrocket during the later stages of mature mining projects.
If the state can slowly develope an alternate Tax revunue stream from mining, it could certainly be a portion of the answer for maintaining an economy and state govt budget once TAPS closes for good.
If you look at more recent data from 2011, mining paid state of AK $148 million on $3.8 billion production value, so more like effective 3.8% tax rate for 2011 as development cost deductions start to expire.
Data (below) source; Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.
Note also that in 2011 Mining paid native corperations $169.9 million, even more in total than was paid as tax to state govenment. Most of this from Red Dog being on NANA lands but similarly, Donlin is on Calista lands and they similarly stand to benefit directly.
•The value of large mine mineral production for 2011 was estimated at $3.8 billion, up 16% from 2010. Minerals produced included zinc, gold, silver, lead, copper, coal, rock, gravel and sand.
•The industry spent an estimated $300 million in Alaska mineral exploration in 2011, up 13% from the previous year. Exploration spending in Alaska accounted for a large percent of the total exploration monies spent in the U.S. each year. In 2011, there were 30 projects in Alaska that spent more than $1 million each.
•The industry spent $175 million on mine construction on developing and existing mines.
•Minerals are the state’s second largest export commodity. Mineral exports accounted for 31% of the state’s export total and consist primarily of zinc and lead from the Red Dog Mine. Relatively strong prices for zinc have helped to sustain the high level of mineral export values over the past several years, as has the historically high prices received for lead.
•Total direct and indirect jobs attributed to the mining industry in 2011 was 9,000 with a payroll of $620 million. The mining industry provides some of Alaska’s highest paying jobs with an average annual wage of $100,000, significantly higher than the state average for all sectors of the economy.
•Mining industry payments to municipalities exceeded $17 million in 2011, and royalties and other fees paid to the State of Alaska was estimated at $148 million.
•The industry paid $28 million to the state-owned Alaska Railroad Corporation for shipments of coal and gravel, and $41.1million to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority for use of state-owned facilities. The industry also paid $1 million to the Alaska Mental Health Trust for rents and royalty payments and construction material sales.
•In 2011, Alaska’s mining industry provided $169.9 million in payments to Alaska Native corporations.
Alaskan dirt junkie
Isn't this forum supposed to be about mountain biking?
Unfortunately some people want to use this form for a platform for there miss informed cause. Thanks Grayjay for the info on how it really work in the world and the good that comes from it that we all benefit from.
In the US there are 16 National Historic Trails. The Iditarod is one of them. Bicyclists use this trail and bicyclists have a stake in the conversation about how this trail is used and developed. If a foreign multi-national gold mining company were planning to build a pipeline on the Appalachian trail don't you think the hikers and bikers of the region would want to be involved? If this development were planned for Resurrection Trail would Alaskan cyclists care?
Once again why don’t you deal with the facts instead of half-truths. Snow bikes ride that trail in the winter because though gas guzzling snow machine keep it broke out, in the summer though ATV’s uses small portions of it and when it gets to mucky the find another rout. So needless to say who know where the real Iditarod trail really is, it has changed a lot over the years in the section we are talking about, most of it is impassable in the summer. Not like the trails you have referred to.
I agree that this biking forum is an appropriate place for discussion of potential impacts of development to the trails we enjoy. I do have a bit of a problem when that discussion expands to a wider general attack on the resource development industries that provide the foundation of the states economy. That said, the ever dwindeling cook inlet gas supply should be a concern for all southcental residents. If Donlin simply competed with the existing cook inlet gas supply it would be bad for residents as the region utilities are already planning for LNG import to suppliment dwindeling cook inlet gas suplies. The potential exist however for this additional gas demand to encourage additional cook inlet gas exploration and development, and/or to share some of the huge development cost it would take to bring north slope gas to southcentral for a stable long-term gas supply. The pipeline infrastructure that Donlin is proposing could also be a huge long-term asset to residents of the Kuskokwim region to provide access to more affordable fuel supplies.
It is no random accident of geography that Dolin is proposing to locate thier pipeline along some of the Iditarod trail route. The mountain passes that the iditarod trail uses were originally selected exactly because they are the easiest and most direct route to pass through the formatable Alaska Range Mountains. A good book I highly reccomend for understanding history and perspective of the iditarod trail and its geographic significance is; Trailbreakers: Pioneering Alaska’s Iditarod Trailbreakers: Pioneering Alaska’s Iditarod | Northern Light Media
If anyone wants to get more information on the Donlin natural gas pipeline and potential route conflicts with Iditarod trail, the Environmental Impace Statement - Plan of Development contains a good bit of detailed info within section 8, including plans for how the pipeline will plan to minimize impact to and maintain access for the trail. I would suggest anyone interested in the issue (pro, neutral or against) inform themself with the pipeline development plan.
Last edited by GrayJay; 03-01-2013 at 03:59 PM.
GrayJay, I am really glad that you brought up the EIS process and posted the Donlin Gold EIS page. I am a lone voice with a single opinion. I do not propose that I am right or that I have all the answers for how exactly all of Alaska's resources should be utilized. I do however see that Donlin Gold is and has slid under the radar, especially compared to the proposed Pebble project. Donlin is huge. The kind of project Alaska has never seen before. The implications and ramifications for the state are enormous. My whole tangent has been based on the premise that more people need to become informed. When a company states, in their business plan, that there will be a need to have perpetual (FOREVER) water treatment, people should, in my mind, have cause to be alarmed. When the company plans to process 20 to 40 tons of toxic mercury a year as waste, in the headwaters of a salmon rearing watershed, people should in my mind, pay attention. And when an iconic and world famous trail is going to have a pipeline built over it, again I think folks should raise at least an eyebrow and if they have the time show up to a meeting or two, read an article, become informed and ask some big questions. Democracy only works well when people are involved.
And Trailbreakers: Pioneering Alaska's Iditarod is a great series.
The Fat Bike Festival in Homer is where I will be this weekend if anyone wants to have these discussions in person.
Keep the rubber side down.
IMO when we have exhausted all the options for recycling our used resources, reduced our demand through technology and practice, and made our transit options varied, smart and progressive; then you can sign me up to help dig the ditch for more raw resources.
I think the above requires humans to earn a wage studying how to improve, design (and produce) the hardware technologies to achieve a smarter system of utilizing our finite resources. Just a thought.
Thanks for ringing the bell Bjørn.
you may have come before us on no bicycle, but that does not say you know everything.