Nondalton tribal council at odds with native corporation

Mar 11, 2015

Kijik Corporation has partnered with mining company AES to explore the Groundhog project near Nondalton.

Interest in a potential gold and copper deposit near Nondalton has put the village’s tribe and corporation at odds. Nondalton’s village corporation Kijik has entered into an agreement to explore the Groundhog claims, and that doesn’t sit well with all shareholders.

Back in January, Kijik entered into a partnership with Alaska Earth Sciences to explore the Groundhog deposit located near Nondalton. AES is a junior mineral exploration company with experience exploring deposits along the Alaska Peninsula.

Located to the northwest of the Pebble deposits, Groundhog was explored before a previous company went bankrupt. The partnership between AES and Kijik, named Chuchuna Mineral Company, wants to continue the effort.

But not all of Kijik’s shareholders are pleased with this development. In a strongly worded letter, the Nondalton Tribal Council says that the decision by Kijik is a, quote, “slap to the face” of the majority of the people of Nondalton.

“What we have around here is more precious than any mine could ever pull out of the ground," said William Evanoff, the President of the Nondalton Tribal Council. “We have one of the greatest natural resources with the salmon coming every summer and that’s something that we want to keep around forever and mining can jeopardize that. And that’s something we have always stated and we’re not the only ones who have stated that.”

Evanoff says many in the community, himself included, were shocked that Kijik didn’t seek any input from shareholders before they went ahead and partnered with the mining company.

“One of the things I’d like to see happen is for them to come back here and hold an informational meeting with the tribe and the shareholders and let us know exactly what they expect to get out of this partnership and why they felt this was the best decision for Kijik in the first place,” said Evanoff.

In the corporation’s newsletter, Kijik CEO Venture Samaniego told shareholders that the first order of business for the new partnership will be to aggressively market the Groundhog prospect to potential developers. He added the joint venture will give Kijik shareholders priority consideration for future jobs and contracts on the project. 

Contact Matt Martin at (907)-842-2200 or matt@kdlg.org.matt@kdlg.org