Pebble presentation focuses on the positive

Public opinion about the Pebble project in Alaska has been negative for some time. A 2012 poll showed 48% of Alaskans opposed to the development, with 58% opposed in January 2017.

Acknowledging the importance of local support, executives at Northern Dynasty Minerals (NDM) and Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) are trying to reset public perception of the project. Yesterday they rolled out a new NDM website, and a corporate presentation that highlights the opportunities for everyone to benefit monetarily from the mine's development: NDM shareholders, the State of Alaska, Bristol Bay residents and village corporations. Will this campaign resonate with those Alaskans who are opposed to the project?

PLP hopes so. As CEO Tom Collier said in an address to Alaska's Resource Development Council yesterday, he believes negative opinions about Pebble are based on misinformation. "We are going to be aggressive in the marketplace of ideas," he said, adding that they now have the time and money to rebut false statements.

The feel-good corporate presentation revealed few specifics, however, and PLP cautions that it doesn't represent an economic analysis, technical mine study or detailed engineering proposal. "We continue to consider various development options and, as such, our current development scenarios may be revised to include adjustments and improvements as the Pebble Project advances."

Alaskans have been asking to see a specific mine plan for years. PLP says it has redesigned the mine to meet the concerns of stakeholders, with a much smaller footprint, and careful engineering to include a lined tailings storage facility built to withstand a powerful earthquake. PLP intends to submit permitting documents to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by the end of 2017, and a technical mine plan should be part of that process. Until that time, the public will have to be content with a general idea of what developers have in mind. 

This week Northern Dynasty Minerals rolled out a new website and corporate presentation.


Small mine footprint means partners have to settle for less - or try to expand the mine later

Northern Dynasty Minerals is reportedly close to announcing a new partnership, which was one of its primary goals over the last few years. Part of the sticking point is getting to the right balance on the size of the mine. The world-class deposit is a huge opportunity if it can be permitted. NDM has redesigned the project and come up with a plan that CEO Ron Thiessen states will be permitted. Last week he presented at the Denver Gold Forum, telling the audience that the size and scale of the deposit will lead to a long-life mine that can last for centuries. He pointed out additional mineral areas of interest near the Pebble deposit, noting that porphyry deposits tend to appear in clusters. However the new mine plan is much smaller than originally planned. Opponents claim that the redesign is just a strategy to open the door a crack, only to develop an entire mining district later. NDM says that's not true. If that's the case, investors should look twice at the claim of a mine with a centuries-long life span.

Above: Current map of mining claims. There are 4 entities besides Pebble Limited Partnership with claims in the area.

Of interest

As reported by KDLG radio in Dillingham, residents of the Bristol Bay village of Igiugig, on the shore of Iliamna Lake, have embarked on a 42-day Native Foods Challenge. High school students came up with the plan after reading about a similar challenge in Australia. Participants eat only traditional foods, locally raised foods and granola for six weeks, ending October 28.

"It’s gotten people a lot closer together and talking about food and subsistence. I think a lot of people are harvesting things they’ve never harvested before."  - Tate Gooden, high school teacher  
Pebble Watch is a program of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Land Department.
Learn more at

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