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Ambler 350 km mining road project, Northwest Arctic, Alaska, US

Inhabitants in Alaska have their livelihoods threatened by a 350 km road construction. Their survival depends directly on clean rivers, healthy fish and caribou pastoralism that would be threatened by the project.


The Ambler road plans to link the Ambler Mining District in Alaska’s remote northwest Arctic region to the state’s road system. The road consists in a  350 km project and is among Trump-era "development" on Alaska  that are now being challenged  in court and are under Biden's administration review [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ambler 350 km mining road project, Northwest Arctic, Alaska, US
Country:United States of America
State or province:Alaska
Location of conflict:Brooks Range and Ambler
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Cobalt
Project Details and Actors
Project details

With a $13 million budget for predevelopment and 35 million in total for this 350 km proposed road to the metal-rich Ambler Mining District in Northwest Alaska [4].

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Project area:350 km project
Level of Investment for the conflictive project35,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2016
Company names or state enterprises:Trilogy Metals from Canada
Ambler metals from United States of America
South 32 from Australia
Relevant government actors:- Office of Land Management
- The U.S. Department of the Interior
- The National Park Service
- The Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S.
- Coast Guard
- Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- The Brooks Range Council (BRC):
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Athapaskan-speaking Koyukon, Inupiaq-speaking Kuuvanmiit and Nunamiut
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Mine tailing spills, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Accidents, Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession
Potential: Land dispossession, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of livelihood, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although the he Brooks Range Council (BRC) was formed as a strong bottom-up opposition to the controversial Trump-era project, the Biden administration is still evaluating the proposal. The project has not been cancelled yet but temporally suspended.
Sources & Materials

[1] Arctic Today 2021: The Biden administration is reconsidering a controversial mining access road in Alaska’s Arctic
[click to view]

[2] Arctic today 2016: A proposed mining access road in Alaska’s Arctic could harm subsistence opportunities for local residents, study says
[click to view]

[3] Alaska Public Media 2021: Ambler Metals will get back some of its $35M investment on access road, if project gets built
[click to view]

[4] North of 60 Mining News: Ambler Road takes a step toward reality
[click to view]

[6] Polar Journal 2021: Help Defending Alaska's Brooks Range: Mining road through national park in Alaska
[click to view]

[7] National Parks Traveler: Op-Ed | Ambler Road A Threat to Alaska’s Wildlands
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[5] The Brooks Range Council (BRC): The Land We Live In. The communities fear less the road itself than the destructive development of the area the road would bring. Video: Brooks Range Council
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Ksenija Hanacek, ENVJUST project ICTA-UAB, The Arctic Project
Last update09/12/2021
Conflict ID:5672
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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