The people of Bristol Bay have a great deal at stake when it comes to the Pebble Project.
Not only would a large open-pit mine northwest of Lake Iliamna create thousands of high-paying jobs and underpin economic development in the region for generations, it would also bring changes to a land that's been largely unchanged for thousands of years.
That's why it was so gratifying to be part of the conference on mining and sustainable resources hosted last week by the University of Alaska, Bristol Bay campus and the community of Newhalen.
More the 150 community leaders, students and local people attended the three-day event to learn more about the Pebble Project and other mineral prospects in the Bristol Bay region. They were also there to express their concern and ensure that both government and industry understand that local people expect to have a meaningful say in what goes on in their backyard.
As chief operating officer of Northern Dynasty Mines, I'm writing to express my appreciation and respect for all of the people who participated in this event.
Not only are they clearly committed to responsible resource development in their region, but they also overwhelmingly expressed their willingness to work with us to help us design the best possible mine plan for the Pebble Project and to defer their support or opposition until that mine plan is complete.
We at Northern Dynasty can ask for nothing more.
For our part, we have pledged to work closely with local people every step of the way to ensure that their priorities and concerns are reflected in mine planning. We have pledged to protect water and wildlife resources and to ensure that our project results in no net loss to the regions fisheries.
Finally, we have pledged to optimize the benefits of our project for local people and local communities.
It will be at least three years before the Pebble Project can be permitted. Over that time, we hope to get to know the people of Bristol Bay even better and to become their partners in responsible mineral development.
Chief operating officer
Northern Dynasty Mines Inc.
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