CIRI, village corporations collaborate on sand and gravel operations

Sand and gravel operations on a parcel of Eklutna land in Birchwood, Alaska.
Sand and gravel operations on a parcel of Eklutna land in Birchwood, Alaska.

The CIRI land and resources department is working with the CIRI region village corporations to promote and cooperatively develop sand and gravel resources throughout our region. Although CIRI owns the sand and gravel subsurface resources, the land surface is most often owned by one of CIRI’s village corporations.

“CIRI’s management has made it a high priority to find opportunities that fall within our joint best interests and to work cooperatively with the CIRI region village corporations,” said CIRI Senior Vice President of Land and Energy Development Ethan Schutt. “We believe sand and gravel developments are one such area of mutual opportunity.”
In the spirit of working together, CIRI is developing three types of template agreements to address different ownership and development situations. The agreements include a royalty agreement between CIRI and the village corporation surface owner that shares the financial benefits of sand and gravel sales between CIRI as the resource owner and the village corporation as the party that bears the long-term surface consequences of sand and gravel extraction.
Another type of agreement being developed is an excavation (operating) agreement between CIRI and a village corporation which, as the surface owner, would also be the pit operator. This form of agreement would provide the village corporations with the business opportunity to develop and operate sand and gravel operations that historically have been contracted to unrelated business entities. Currently, Eklutna, Inc. and Tyonek Native Corporation are working with CIRI to develop excavation contracts to operate some of their surface estate-owned pits.
A final form of agreement addresses the case where CIRI is the surface and subsurface owner and would allow a village corporation to be contracted as the pit operator. Again, this form of agreement would provide a business opportunity to the CIRI region village corporations. Ninilchik Natives Association, Inc. is in discussions with CIRI to develop this type of contract.
Once finalized and approved, we expect to use all three types of agreements as we move forward with sand and gravel resource development.
“We believe these template agreements will promote efficient sand and gravel operations and achieve mutually beneficial business relationships with our village corporations,” Schutt said.