Ambler Mining District/ Upper Kobuk Mineral Project
The project is very remote. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities’ Roads to Resources program proposes building a 220-mile- long road connecting the Dalton highway to the Ambler Mining District. This road would greatly abet development of the Upper Kobuk Mineral Project. The proposed road could have significant environmental impacts. The current road proposal calls for crossing 161 rivers and streams and establishing gravel quarries every ten miles along the roadway. The state of Alaska would pay for road construction (estimated to cost $430 million) and maintenance (estimated to cost $8.5 million a year).
The Arctic Deposit contains sulfides that, when exposed to the environment, react with oxygen and water to generate sulfuric acid. This can enter the watershed, causing it to become highly acidic and inhospitable to almost all life. The feasibility study for the mine implies that active water treatment will need to continue forever after the closure of the mine to mitigate this acid.
In 2012, the Brooks Range Council was formed to oppose the mine and road.