01 February 2011

BBNC video on Responsible Resource Development

'Pebble-Watch'-watchers may appreciate viewing the recently produced Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) video on responsible land and resource development, which has already been shown at some Pebble Watch meetings and other BBNC functions.

"Responsible Development: Our People, Our Land, Our Companies," explores BBNC's responsible development land-use policy. It features BBNC leaders and shareholders discussing the story of the past, present and future of the company and development of BBNC-owned lands in Southwest Alaska. Communities mentioned include Togiak and Kokhanok.

Though not about the mine project specifically, the video was inspired in part by many of the questions and conversations that have come up regarding the corporation's stance on Pebble Mine, confirms BBNC Communications Coordinator Amy DeBruhl. "We realized it is also a consistent way to showcase our views to the public," she says.

Land & Resources Manager Tiel Smith, who was among those interviewed, says the video "reflects very well just how thoughtful we have to be—and are being—as a people, as a region and as a corporation, as we confront the complexities that come with potential development."

In addition to showing the video at shareholder meetings, BBNC plans to mail out DVDs to village corporations and tribal councils and show it on GCI Channel 1 later this year. The video was produced by BBNC and Alaska Channel, and it is available to view at the BBNC website.

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18 January 2011

Download 'good practice guide' for mining & indigenous peoples

While at the Keystone Center forum, Pebble Watch heard of a resource we think would be helpful to shareholders. The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) offers a 'toolkit' (in PDF form) to help mining companies and indigenous peoples navigate issues surrounding engagement and participation, impact management, agreements, benefits sharing and dealing with grievances.

Anglo American, a Pebble developer, is one of the 18 mining and metal companies belonging to ICMM. According to the ICMM website, organization members all agree to subscribe to the principles of sustainable development and respect for the environment.

Here is a link to "Good Practice Guide: Indigenous Peoples and Mining."

Find more information about ICMM here.

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13 January 2011

National Geographic article explores local impact of mine

A December 2010 National Geographic magazine article explores possible environmental and economic effects the Pebble mine may have on the surrounding area and residents. "Alaska's Choice: Salmon or Gold,"focuses on topics that may be impacted by mine development, including salmon runs, industrial growth, job creation, utility prices, air quality and other issues now on the minds of Bristol Bay residents and mine developers. Communities mentioned include Iliamna, Dillingham and Naknek.

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07 January 2011

First Independent Review presented at Keystone Center Meeting

Pebble Watch members were in attendance at the much-anticipated December 3 forum focusing on contentious environmental and scientific issues surrounding the proposed Pebble mine. The day-long discussion focused on responsible large-scale mining and global perspectives.

The Keystone Center, a non-profit organization located in Keystone, Colorado, was contracted by the Pebble Partnership to conduct several independent science panels and review the Pebble project. Panel members touched on many topics over the course of the day. The five panelist's presentations have been posted online at Keystone's website at the following links:

Sustainable Development and Large-Scale Mining: Twelve Challenges

The Social Dimensions of Large-Scale Mining: A Global Industry Perspective

Standards for Large-Scale Mining: What Communities Need to Know

Environmental Standards for Responsible Mining

Designing a Mine that Contributes to Sustainable Development

Keystone opened the meeting by addressing concerns about the contract between their company and the Pebble Partnership. Keystone pointed to its solid track record of maintaining independence from clients while conducting work. In addition, panel members served without compensation, except for modest travel expenses.

The goals of the upcoming panels are to help community members evaluate the extensive environmental and socioeconomic reports and studies conducted by the Pebble Partnership.

Read more about the Keystone Center here.

The next Keystone event has been tentatively scheduled for March, but a date has not yet been set. Check back with our Calender if you are interested in more information or attending one of the upcoming panel forums.  

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Updated Pebble activities shared at BBNC board meeting

Among information presented at the BBNC board's Land Committee meeting in early December was an update on Pebble activities. Main points included project cost updates and workforce statistics:

  • In 2009, of the 468 total employees working on the Pebble Project, 26 percent were Bristol Bay locals. Employment figures for 2010 will not be available until later this year.
  • In 2009, the Pebble Partnership spent just under $70 million on project development activities, such as environmental baseline studies and exploration.
  • In 2010, the Partnership spent approximately $70 million, which included drilling 48 new exploration holes, bringing the total number drilled to 557 for the entire project.

The above figures were provided by Pebble Limited Partnership in 2010.

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