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Mining in Alaska Toolkit

A Publication of the Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council with support provided by the Lannan Foundation

A Publication of the Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council with support provided by the Lannan Foundation

A Publication of the Yukon River Inter-ribal Watershed Council with support provided by the Lannan Foundation

                                             Overview of the YRITWC’s Mining Program

The YRITWC Mining Program is built on these directives
•    Directive 2015 in Minto, AK: To establish a mining watchdog position … to guide water and soil sampling, with a focus on creating informational tools, grounded in Traditional Knowledge
•    Directive 2017 in Carcross, Yukon, CA: Gather Information About Mining and Other Discharges into the Watershed and Assess Potential Impacts to Human and Fish Health

Goals of the Mining Program include:
1.    To create user-friendly tools to inform local and regional decision-making regarding mining
2.    To partner with, and empower, communities to collect accurate, trustworthy mining contaminant data that has potential to impact human and ecosystem health
3.    To work with relevant stakeholders, including the mining industry, and others to promote responsible development and clean-up of mine related waste and equipment


In the state of Alaska, mining is a significant portion of the economy, contributing almost $100 million to the state of Alaska’s revenue every year. 

In particular, the Yukon River Watershed bears both the risks and opportunities of mining. The risks, in potential threats to water quality and the landscape. The opportunities, in potential revenues and employment locally. In the Yukon River Watershed, most of the mining activity folks experience will be either exploration or placer mining. There are a few hard rock mines in the watershed, such as Fort Knox, that both produce significantly more revenue but bear more environmental risk. As of 2013, there are about 265 placer mines in the state of Alaska and 6 operating large mines (ISER).

The Yukon River Watershed Council developed this toolkit in order to aid communities in the Yukon River understand what rights they have and navigate legal and social systems in asserting those rights. 

Download a PDF here

Mining in my Area

Utilizing the Mining Map tool, users can find mining impacts in their area


Environmental Impacts

Using the documents in the Environmental Impacts section, users can understand the environmental risks of different types of mining

Sand Sifting

Mining Policy

Using the documents in the Mining Policy section, users can understand the policies designed to protect their resources in Alaska and the best ways to assert those rights

Flow Chart
Cold Mountians
Fish Pail
Lily Pads
US government building
Arctic Landscape
Worker with Glasses
Reflection in a Pond
Red Leaves

Case Studies

Using lessons from two case studies and some general tips, users can engage in more effective advocacy

Dry Woods
Lecture on Religion


Short Definitions of key terms to help users understand the toolkit

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