Last update:
2021-12-09

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.



Description:

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
Copper
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): https://www.brooksrange.org/about-us/
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Pastoralists
Social movements
Athapaskan-speaking Koyukon, Inupiaq-speaking Kuuvanmiit and Nunamiut
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Impacts
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
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Moratoria
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
Comments
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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