Current weather

  • Overcast, light rain
  • 54°
    Overcast, light rain
  • Comment

Pebble to spend $107M on permitting

Posted: May 16, 2012 - 9:13am

ANCHORAGE — A Canada-based mining company eyeing development of a huge copper and gold deposit near one of the world’s premier salmon fisheries said Tuesday that $107 million has been allocated to prepare the mine for permitting later this year.

Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. said the Pebble Mine project should be ready for permitting this fall in a process that could take several years. 

The 2012 work project money will be used to provide a detailed description of the proposed project. 

Issues such as the mine’s power requirements, employment opportunities and strategies to mitigate any environmental impacts will be included, said Mike Heatwole, spokesman for the Pebble Partnership, the group behind the mine project. The mine is a joint venture between Northern Dynasty and Anglo American plc of the United Kingdom, which has spent approximately $400 million to advance the project.

Public meetings will be held with stakeholders in the fall to discuss project details such as how mine waste will be handled and how Pebble will be able to coexist with Bristol Bay fisheries, Heatwole said.

Pebble is one of the largest deposits of its kind in the world. The companies say it has the potential of producing more than 80 billion pounds of copper, more than 107 million ounces of gold and 5.6 billion pounds of molybdenum. The companies say Pebble also could provide an estimated 1,000 well-paying, full-time jobs. 

But opponents say the mine poses an unacceptable level of danger to salmon, the region’s valuable renewable resource.

Tom Tilden, chief of the Curyung Tribal Council and a former mayor of Dillingham, is a commercial fisherman who supported the mine early on but now opposes it, in part because he said locals have been given too little information. The public doesn’t even know what type of mine is being proposed, whether it would be a strip mine or underground or a combination of both, he said.

Heatwole said the Pebble Partnership will have technical experts at the fall meetings to discuss particulars. He said the mining companies are eager to share information.

Northern Dynasty President and CEO Ronald Thiessen said the companies are focused on finalizing the project description, adding that it will meet and exceed both federal and state environmental regulations and permitting requirements. At the same time, Pebble will provide “significant benefits to the region, the state and the nation,” he said in a statement.

Tilden said he likes the idea of good jobs in the Bristol Bay region but not at the expense of the salmon fisheries. He said he doubts that earthen dams to contain mining waste would not eventually leak in the earthquake-prone area. He said he looked into the geology of the area for the proposed mine and didn’t like what he found.

“I found out the type of soil it is in and if you mix it with water, then it would basically be battery acid,” he said.

Commercial fisherman Everett Thompson of Naknek said he recently attended one of Pebble’s environmental assessment meetings in which water flow and gravel composition was discussed. 

His concerns for the sulfide mine were raised when the discussion turned to an underground mine that would be below sea level and would require the exchange of enormous amounts of water.

Thompson, a commercial fisherman for 29 years, said he can’t imagine how that would be good for fish.

“How are you going to control that?” he asked.

  • Comment

Comments (4) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 05/16/12 - 01:01 pm
5 Words

The 5 words that start this article after Anchorage-
(A CANADA-based mining company) are all thats needed to show that they, Pebble could care less about OUR States fishing industry and WE don't want or need them here no matter how much they spend on permits which help no one other than Bureaucrats or Governmental institutions that hurt more than help in most cases.

Isaiah 1:23

JOAT 05/17/12 - 02:00 am

Come on, don't you think this Canadian company would do just as good a job as Agrium did?

Oh wait. Nevermind.

Seriously though, you can love or hate mining all you want to. It's far too late to do anything about Pebble. Because we allow foreign countries to come in and stake claims for our state-owned (i.e. citizen-owned) minerals, we are going to have to accept this as part of the deal.

If you want Alaskan companies to do these projects, then we need to restrict permitting to Alaskan companies. Of course, when you do that, it just adds one more step to the process that the foreigners will have to use... they have to buy an Alaskan company to do business under. So, it won't really change anything.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 05/17/12 - 05:54 am
Joat your right

I know what your saying is correct as True history shows this many places world wide as well as state & LOCALLY. But, it helps me to be like Old Faithful and spout off some steam on every subject that comes up, as well as try to get people to understand that we are being herded like Sheeple by these that claim to be wanting to do us good all the way to the Top of the ladder as they pee on us while telling us thats it's raining instead of the Whole story of it's Acid Rain.
There are two types of control as i view it, one by men with promises of good for all and one by God who also promises good for all men. Man has always tried to redo what God said while we destroy everything around us usually, what a mess we are in.
Have a GR8 summer enjoying our states abundance of fish while we can is all i can say about this article on mining.

Isaiah 1:23

Raoulduke 05/19/12 - 06:55 am
permit monies

Just how much of this permit money is going to go into the pockets of our state politician's pocket's.Oh! I meant lobby monies.No! I meant tax monies.Uh! Highway monies.Alaskan's have the most blatant,and arrogant of thieves for their representation.Unfortunately! The Alaskan's do not realize this,or they just do not care.Just as long as your candidate gets elected.Alaskan's will pay the price in the end as always.You just have to open your eyes.

Back to Top


Please Note: You may have disabled JavaScript and/or CSS. Although this news content will be accessible, certain functionality is unavailable.

Skip to News

« back

next »

  • title
  • title
  • title
My Gallery


  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback