As Alaska looks to extract more minerals, grantee finds unchecked risks to health and safety

Barbara Schuhmann’s face reflects out of the side-view mirror while parked on a stretch of road on the haul route just north of Fairbanks. Grist / Sean McDermott

Reporters Lois Parshley and Sean McDermott, in a story co-published by Alaska Public Media and Grist with support from the Fund, examined how mining companies are gearing up to extract minerals across Alaska as the state looks beyond producing fossil fuels. They found that environmental assessments have not been conducted on the planned mining and the community members have serious, unaddressed concerns about how the mining will impact everything from air and water safety to housing shortages. The story also raised questions about the state’s ability to impartially oversee permitting because it already has invested $10 million in the mine.