Yesterday we wrote here about the need to follow the process for the proposed West Susitna Access Road. Today, after hearing a radio ad run by those opposing the project, we provide some detail conveniently ignored by the opposition.
With lodge owners crying foul while making their money hosting numerous foreign clients, it is surprising that the first tactic they have schemed up to block the road is a series of video and radio ads warning Alaskans about “foreign” resource development companies!
- Hundreds of Alaskans have already been put to work by the companies that are out exploring and working in the area over the last several years. This summer, multiple exploration companies are putting loads of Alaskans to work, performing geologic and environmental studies, piloting aircraft, providing camp labor, and performing facility maintenance, along with many untold indirect jobs that support these operations.
- The CEO and Director of one of these exploration companies, Nova Minerals, is a Palmer resident and a long-time Alaskan who attended West High School. While Nova Minerals was originally founded and registered in Australia, its operations and commitments are stated as being 100% in Alaska. Nova’s Alaska-based leadership seem to be working tirelessly to ensure that Alaskan jobs are prioritized at their camp and exploration sites. Furthering its attempt to be good neighbors, Nova has supported the Iditarod Trail Race, the Iron Dog Race, Local Youth sports programs, and use multiple Alaskan lodges and business.
- In addition to Nova, new players Gold Mining, Inc., and Ragusa, among others, are also exploring in the region this summer. These companies are also employing a sizable Alaskan workforce and using local Alaskan businesses and services.
- Nova Minerals has invested over $30 million in Alaska already and is employing 30 to 50 year-round employees or contractors during its exploration phase. The hundreds of direct and indirect jobs created by the different companies exploring in the region today could grow to thousands of jobs during construction and operational phases – if a road can be developed to support them.
An inconvenient truth for those trying to stop a road by stirring up anti- “foreign” sentiment? Maybe. It’s still the truth.