Communities along Alaska’s Kuskokwim River now have access to the longest ice road built to date thanks to the efforts of local tribes and the support of key partners, including Donlin Gold—a 50/50 joint venture between Barrick and NOVAGOLD.
Ice roads are roadways built entirely on frozen water bodies. They are vital during the winter months for remote communities where waterways are the main transportation channel connecting them with the outside world.
The newly-built ice road on the Kuskokwim River spans 200 miles and connects close to a dozen communities based on the shorelines. Crews from the local tribes led the construction efforts from beginning to end. The process started months ago and required special equipment, such as an ice road grader that landed in the City of Aniak—one of the communities that will benefit from the road—in 2015. Donlin provided $2,500 to help cover shipping costs then. The company is also funding road maintenance costs this year with a $5,000 donation to the Native Village of Napaimute.
The ice road will provide social and economic benefits to all the villages it connects; this includes employment opportunities during a time of the year when the number of seasonal jobs is drastically reduced. The graded, marked road will also cut costs associated with pricey airfare for residents who need to travel outside of their communities.