Several bandits who reportedly posed as Police Officers executed a brazen robbery on a sand pit operated by Baskaran and Sons at Yarrowkabra, Linden-Soesdyke Highway after they assaulted the security guard on duty in the wee hours of Saturday.Based on reports received, the incident took place between 22:30h and 02:00h during which the bandits held the security guard at gunpoint and dealt him several blows to his body before escaping with over $6.1 million in items.According to reports received, the guard was in his hut when he was awakened by a loud banging on his door. After he enquired, he was told that it was the Police and that they were making routine checks. Thinking something was amiss, the security officer did not open the door, but soon after he heard the sound of an excavator starting up.Within a few minutes, the bucket of the excavator crashed into the hut thus forcing the security guard to try to run to safety. He was, however, captured by the bandits who started to hit him about his body. He reportedly fell to the ground and it was at this time, the men used duct tape to tie his hands and feet, and also gagged him.As he remained on the ground, a car entered the compound and two 12-volt excavator batters and a hydraulic pump were loaded into its trunk. The car then made its way out of the compound along with the armed men.The security guard managed to free himself and contacted his employers, who in turn contacted the Police. Statements were taken from the security guard. An investigation has been launched into the incident. No arrests have been made.
The site of the proposed Donlin gold mine, which would be one of the biggest in the world (KYUK photo)Gov. Bill Walker made headlines this past weekend after he requested that the Army Corps of Engineers suspend the Environmental Impact Statement for the controversial Pebble mine in Bristol Bay.Listen nowBut Walker, who is running for re-election as an independent, and three other top gubernatorial candidates have pledged support for the Donlin mine, which would be the one of the biggest gold mines in the world. Walker says Donlin so far appears to be following the rules of regulatory process.“I have to have a pretty strong reason to not support something and so I’m still looking at that, but what I know of it I’m comfortable with,” Walker said.Walker’s competitors tout other benefits of the Donlin mine. Former Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell is running as a Republican. Treadwell praises Donlin’s promise to bring more jobs to the Y-K Delta.“There are mines around the state that employ a lot of people and it’s one of the most important things we can do for regional development,” Treadwell said.The project also proposes a 315-mile-long gas pipeline from Cook Inlet to fuel the mine’s operations and power demands. Former state Senator Mike Dunleavy, who is running as a Republican and will face Treadwell in the GOP primary in August, says that pipeline is a huge energy opportunity for the Y-K Delta and the state.“A lot of spin-off industries will benefit from it in the Y-K Delta and Southcentral Alaska so I think it’s a huge opportunity for Alaska,” Dunleavy said.Former United States Senator Mark Begich, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the primary, has voiced support for Donlin for years and believes the project on Native Corporation land can co-exist with the subsistence lifestyle in Western Alaska.“They’ve understood the value of fishing and they understand the importance of it to subsistence lifestyle,” Begich said.The Donlin mine would increase barge traffic on the Kuskokwim River, the food source for many residents in the Y-K Delta.It will require large treatment facilities for mercury and cyanide coming from the mine’s operations. Donlin has already received a water permit from the state to discharge wastewater into Crooked Creek, which drains into the Kuskokwim River.People living the Y-K Delta are also worried about what will happen after the mine stops producing. The site would have to be monitored forever, once it ceases operations.Gov. Walker says he doesn’t see the state relaxing monitoring enforcement, even with the budget crunch the last couple of years. He’s confident the state can adequately regulate the mine.“We certainly we have laws in place,” Walker said. “I believe if we need to strengthen those laws, then let’s strengthen those laws.”Treadwell and Dunleavy will battle each other in the August primary for the Republican nomination. On the Democratic side, Begich is unopposed, and the winners will face Governor Walker in November.