While the Pogo Mine operates quietly in the hills, a two-hour drive from Delta Junction, Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo LLC clearly recognizes our responsibilities to Alaska’s interior. The company’s commitment doesn’t end with operating in an environmentally responsible manner and providing hundreds of jobs to local residents. We also work with our neighbors to help address community needs and to develop economic capacity, skills, infrastructure, and services that will continue to be of value even after the mine is gone.
For many years, Pogo has been quietly investing. The company has donated several hundred thousand dollars annually to the City of Delta Junction. The intent of the gift is to make the community a better place for its residents. There is no legal obligation to make this payment – this is an investment the company has chosen.
Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo is making a significant commitment to Delta Junction. After 4+ years of declining metals prices, mining companies all over the world are cutting costs, reducing (and even eliminating) philanthropic programs, but Pogo’s commitment remains strong. Only the structure, not the size, of the gift will change in 2015.
With input from the City, Pogo has organized a Delta Junction Community Advisory Board (CAB) to shepherd Pogo’s donations within the community. In addition to working with as many local businesses as possible, we have a robust corporate philanthropy program. Most importantly, we are looking for ways to be engaged in the community. After all, that’s what great neighbors do. The good news is that amidst lower gold prices and an industry-wide focus on reducing costs, our parent companies, Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corporation, clearly understand the need for partnership with local communities. Rather than reducing the corporate giving budget, they are committed to helping Pogo be a good neighbor. We are fortunate to have this level of commitment from our corporate entities.
Last spring I was able to participate in Science Night at the elementary school. This gave us a great chance to share with students (and adults) some of the work that we do. I’m certain there are more events like this where Pogo should and can make a positive difference. Because my office is in Fairbanks, and all of the other managers work from the mine site itself, I know we miss a lot of events. My hope is that the members of the Community Advisory Board can help us increase our presence and partnership in Delta.
We have three goals for the group: (1) to facilitate communication between the mine and the community so that both groups are apprised of what is happening, which builds a stronger relationship; (2) to have Delta residents provide feedback to Pogo in making donation decisions for groups in the Delta area; and (3) to learn more about what is happening in the community, which gives Pogo a greater chance to be involved.
As the second largest producer of gold in Alaska, Pogo has been in operation since 2006 and looks forward to continued operations for many years to come. Pogo has been a responsible, active corporate citizen since the early days of exploration. The company strives to continually progress and improve the way it does business to maintain the trust and respect of the Alaskan community.
The newly appointed five-member CAB will meet several times a year and will consider donation requests from organizations based in the community or doing work that will benefit Delta. Committee members include Mayor Pete Hallgren, school superintendent Laural Jackson, Matt Walker of Delta Concrete, Lauren Morton from Delta Medical Transport, and Steve Hammond with M2C1.
At the first CAB meeting in late May, the group recommended contributions to the Rural Deltana Volunteer Fire Department and Delta/Greely Youth Baseball. Additionally, earlier in the year, the company contributed to the Deltana Fair for the construction of a new arena and made donations to the Delta Library Association and Delta Youth Soccer Association. The company also recently announced a $150,000 gift to the City.
Pogo Mine focuses a substantial portion of its contributions on programs which address education, youth, health & safety, arts & culture, and community/quality of life. As a rule, we do not fund religious organizations, political groups, requests from individuals, or competitive-level sports teams or individual players. We also encourage and support our employees who choose to make their own contributions of time, skills, and money to community activities. While the CAB can’t make final decisions for the company, Pogo will rely heavily on their advice to ensure that company investments in Delta Junction will be of the greatest benefit for area residents. The CAB’s next meeting is scheduled for early September.
Organizations with projects or programs that may benefit from Pogo’s Great Neighbors program are encouraged to submit their requests online at https://pogomine.wufoo.com/forms/great-neighbors-program/ or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, donations are just part of being a great neighbor. We also look for other opportunities to engage in the community. If you have ideas there, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Delta Junction is an amazing community and Pogo is proud to be part of it!
Pogo Mine is located 38 miles northwest of Delta Junction. The mine is operated by Sumitomo Metal Mining Company and is a Joint Venture between Sumitomo Metal Mining Company and Sumitomo Corporation with 85% and 15% ownership shares respectively. Final Permits and Authorizations were issued for the Pogo Mine Project in December 2003. Mine construction was completed in 2006 and commercial production was achieved in April 2007. The mine produces approximately 330,000 ounces of gold annually and maintains a workforce of more than 300 direct employees and an additional 150 contractors.