In an area where residents operate on a seasonal schedule for subsistence activities, winter has always proven to be a good time for Donlin employees to meet with residents in the Yukon Kuskokwim region and provide them with an update on the project. Staff began this year’s set of annual village visits at Calista Corporation’s shareholder relations committee meeting in Akiachak. About 50 people attended the first project update meeting.
Donlin Gold employees Bill Bieber, Mary Sattler, Vernon Chimegalrea, Wayne Morgan and Colleen Laraux were on hand to answer questions about the project. At the request of attendees, Vernon Chimegalrea gave the entire presentation on the project in Yup’ik. Residents said having the presentation available in Yup’ik was very helpful, especially for explaining more technical aspects of the project such as the milling process, and Vernon was praised for his translating abilities.
Calista Board Members George Guy, Michael Akerelrea, Robert Hoffman and Willie Kasayulie were also in attendance at the meeting. After project information was shared, residents and board members were able to ask questions and provide their feedback on any issues or concerns regarding the project.
Donlin provided lunch and door prizes to residents at the meeting, which included items like fuel and snowmachine helmets. The helmets were given away as part of Donlin’s regional outreach safety campaign, since snowmachine related accidents are a major cause of injuries and in some cases fatalities in the region.
The Donlin team has been to Akiachak before, as is often the case with other villages, and has brought community leaders to the Donlin Camp for a firsthand view of the project. Donlin appreciates residents taking the time to attend the village meetings, which provide a more traditional and personalized way ofcommunicating about the project. Listening to concerns has and will continue to be an important part of the project, and Donlin encourages residents to share their thoughts with staff, whether it’s during a village visit or through other methods of communication –phone, mail, email, comment card, visiting a regional office or on the website.
More village meetings are scheduled in the next few weeks. Flyers with the date, time, and location of each meeting will be posted throughout communities and some residents will be sent invites through the mail. Residents can also get an updated list of the project meetings by visiting www.DonlinGold.com/community or by calling (888) 225-7590.