The Lake and Peninsula Borough government has officially endorsed Northern Dynasty Minerals' proposed Pebble mine project, but that support is qualified by demands that the mine be operated safely, according to Jeff Currier, borough manager.
"Support comes with the understanding that development will be done in an environmentally safe manner and that the company will be conscious of and work with local residents around Iliamna and not trample the culture," he said in an interview Thursday.
Currier said he was particularly concerned about maintaining residents' rights and opportunities to subsistence harvesting.
"I don't want to see that change," he said.
Currier called the mine "a two-edged thing" offering a myriad of benefits, but also the possibility of a lot of turmoil.
"We haven't seen anything yet," he said. "It's just the tip of the iceberg, as far as upheaval and misinformation that will be distributed by those who have their own interests."
Currier said the borough recognizes that the region's fishing industry has been depressed for several years by competition from farmed salmon and low prices, and that it is in the residents' best interests to have alternative sources of income, revenue and jobs.
"We have spoken with Northern Dynasty and told them we are supportive, but we want it done right," he said. "We don't want to trade our environment and subsistence lifestyle for a mine."
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