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Study says Pebble Mine would impact Alaska's economy considerably

Posted: September 22, 2013 - 7:37pm

A May 2013 report commissioned by the Pebble Limited Partnership indicates that the proposed Pebble Mine would have a substantial effect on Alaska’s economy. The partnership considers the Pebble deposit to be one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Alaskan economist Scott Goldsmith noted the study in his most recent newsletter, which is funded by First National Bank of Alaska.

“A recent study indicates that the Pebble mining prospect in southwest Alaska could, if developed, make a significant contribution to the Alaska economy, given its measured and indicated resources of 55 billion pounds of copper, 3.3 billion pounds of molybdenum, and 67 million ounces of gold,” Goldsmith wrote.

Goldsmith is a professor of economics at the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research. The economic analysis firm IHS Global Insight completed the study; Alaska-based economic research firm McDowell group contributed to it.

The report says the value of the proposed mine’s annual output would be between $1.5 and $3 billion. During the construction phase of the mine, $27 million in taxes would be paid to state and local governments, the report says. That would increase to $165 million to $213 during the initial production phase. The mine could create 4,725 jobs during the construction phase, 2,890 during initial production, and 2,750 during subsequent development.

Goldsmith points out that the state budget, excluding Permanent Fund appropriations, is $11.3 billion. State revenues for fiscal year 2014 are estimated to be $10.66 billion, “suggesting the need to draw on reserves to fund the budget for the first time in several years.”

Goldsmith also cited a survey by the Fraser Institute that ranks Alaska as 19th out of 96 regions for mining attractiveness.

Goldsmith wrote, “Alaska attractiveness improved this year based on availability of labor and skills, the quality of the geological database, and infrastructure.”

A state court judge was asked earlier this month to overturn a 2011 initiative that bans large-scale resource extraction that would destroy or degrade salmon habitat in the Lake and Peninsula borough, where the Pebble deposit is located. The State of Alaska is arguing that because the deposit is located on state land, the borough has no control over its development.

London-based Anglo American PLC dropped its support of the Pebble project last week. Anglo had spent about $540 million on the project through June. The company would have had to spend nearly a billion dollars more to retain its 50 percent interest in the project.

A report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the impact of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay region is expected to be released later this year. The report could affect permitting for the mine.

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JohnPeterZenger 09/22/13 - 09:58 pm
No Pebble,

...not now, not ever.

Norseman 09/23/13 - 05:07 am
I too am against pebble.

I too am against pebble. However, anytime there are huge amounts of dollars involved, history has shown that big money prevails.

If some of you can remember a few years back, you could bribe Republican members of our legislature for a 1,000 bucks.....

BigRedDog 09/23/13 - 06:33 am
Cheating Alaska Natives and Citizens

The incredible economic burden placed on all the western Alaska Native population has created a problem. That problem is these otherwise industrious hard working souls are put in a corner of the world without equal opportunity. Cost of food, clothing, and shelter in this remote area w/o road access leaves them financially at a disadvantage. It's like someone thought up a plan or way to KEEP these people POOR! The general lack of commerce due no road access to the rest of the world has created a disadvantaged population.
Pebbles has illuminated the great economic disparity among the population within our state. The desperate need for meaningful employment has some sniffing Pebbles as a solution to this problem.
That mine will only be in production for some 35 years and then the ticking time bomb of the largest earthen dam in the world will remain forever! The slime like heavy metal toxic mix of crap behind that dam will have the potential to totally destroy the largest wild salmon run on earth. And some are SO desperate for work that the ticking clock doesn't even bother them. This is the problem that no road access to the rest of the world has created for the population of our south western Alaskan neighbors.
It is almost criminal to not put a highway into Bristol Bay. The incredible commerce this road would bring to the area would catapult the local economy ten fold any Pebble development. A road would also give all Alaskans access to the millions of acres of land included in our Alaska State Land Selection. That land is now locked aside and unavailable to development because of the lack of a highway.
It appears that the EPA will not approve Pebbles.
But we as a State have the responsibility to provide equal opportunity for this population to prosper economically or we better get ready to continue the economic drain of supporting this disadvantaged population.

JohnPeterZenger 09/23/13 - 09:42 am
'otherwise industrious souls' ?

'put in a corner of the world'?

'It's like someone put up a plan to keep those people poor'?

No, it's not like that at all. But you go, dog, it's hilarious to see you act like you're all worked up.

I'm sure the people from Southwest Alaska appreciate your condescension.

And Pebble didn't 'illuminate' the difference, (or 'disparity'), as you call it, the difference was there long before anyone ever thought up Pebble mine.

Not everyone living in Southwest Alaska is anxious to bring more people, nor impose anyone else's mindset on or to their area.

We haven't heard any great clamor from the people who live there asking that we open up a highway so more crazies can get to Bristol Bay.

Before you claim it's criminal 'not to build a highway', you'd best consider it would be criminal to build a highway.

There's probably more than a few residents of Southwest Alaska who'd prefer you not act like you're their spokesman.

Watchman on the Wall
Watchman on the Wall 09/23/13 - 11:22 am
This is a major shocker that

This is a major shocker that a report commissioned by the Pebble mine would show a GR8 economic impact on Alaska. Like their own report would show a negative impact and further their agenda to enhance their business partners wealth at the expense of Alaskans? Go figure.
Thanks, but, NO Thanks, as the negative natural impact far out ways the possible economic impact as far as this Alaska resident is concerned.

BigRedDog 09/24/13 - 06:36 am
I got a critic

Looks like a troller is after me and I just like to know somebody is paying attention to these comments. Seems Pete likes to attack other peoples opinions but doesn't put a lot of substance into the conversation.
Yes I can only speak for myself about wanting a road to Bristol Bay, but it would produce more commerce for the region than even this full scale pillaging of mother Earth. But it appears JPZ is an expert at injecting conflict about thoughts concerning other posters. So I must agree and say it is only my humble opinion that lack of a highway into the region cuts of access to the millions of acres of land selected by the State of Alaska. At the selection the citizens had every right to think this region would be served by a road, kind of like the Seward highway, the Kenai Spur, the Elliot H/W, or the Richardson H/W to Valdez.
I would go so far as to say it would have more positive impact on the Alaskan economy to build the road instead of the PFD checks! I think we would see some giants rise up among the population and catapult their local economies like a pop bottle rocket. Just think a Wall Mart in Dillingham and a Safeway in King Salmon. Bet those folks would love our Home Depot! When I came to Kenai we had a Western Auto store and the old Carrs without the rest of the Mall.
I made a good living helping to build this city and general area supporting it and would wish more folks would have that same opportunity. I made a hand for the folks of the peninsula for some 30 years and know the difference just a few hard working people in the right places can make. And that was after dragging a spinning chain further than JPZ ever got an idea to travel.

JohnPeterZenger 09/24/13 - 11:45 am
I can't decide which you're more enamored with,

...your egotism or your egoism.

I'm pretty sure you've not given it a thought.

Raoulduke 09/26/13 - 06:05 am
The Pebble

I have one question.Is the Pebble mine going to produce FOOD?

potomac 09/26/13 - 10:15 am
mines talking heads

that is all very interesting, the other side of their mouth never mentioned just how big this impact will be on our economy...Try one destroyed fishery after the other one world class river after the other destroyed, in the 10's of thousands of swans and water birds dieing in these enormous poison settling ponds that will look like the great lakes in size, displaced cultures and people, businesses destroyed. Then as this all washes into the ocean say goodbye to reds, kings, clams , crabs, the list includes everything from the whales down to corral reefs, some very rare not found anywhere else. So little is known about all of these areas that will be effected by this huge open pit mess. Mining still has not conformed to the modern days, they still have laws on the books that go back 100years or more. Then after everything is dead or about dead, these great mining folks disband, file bankrupt as usual , we the tax payers pay for a supper fund site that takes 20 years of wrangling in congress and goes up several billion why they fight over the money to fix the mess best they can, pay off a dead fishing fleet, we have seen this too much in history, no Pebble Mine period!

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