Biden set to block Ambler mining road in Alaska wilderness

By Adam Federman | 04/16/2024 04:36 PM EDT

The move to preserve the pristine wilderness has been sought by Alaskan tribes, but it would keep the critical minerals in the region from being mined.

Itkillik Preserve at the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

A hidden valley in the Itkillik Preserve at the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska. That park would be affected by a proposed industrial road to the mining district of Ambler. Cadence Cook/AP

This story was updated at 4:55 p.m. EDT.

The Biden administration is preparing to reject a controversial road-building project needed to mine major copper and zinc deposits in the remote Alaska wilderness, a move sought by Native tribes, but one that would keep critical minerals needed for the U.S. clean energy transition out of reach.

In a final environmental analysis due out later this week, the Interior Department is expected to issue a recommendation that would effectively kill the Ambler Road project in its current form, according to two people with knowledge on the decision who were granted anonymity because it was not yet public. A document explaining the administration’s stance is due 90 days after publication of the environmental impact statement.


If the Biden administration ultimately rejects the access road, its decision will likely be challenged by the state agency overseeing the project. And a rejection is sure to infuriate Alaska lawmakers who lobbied the administration to allow the road to be built.