27 January 2013
Pebble Limited Partnership has said it plans to release a mine plan and advance to permitting before the end of the fiscal year. This issue of Pebble Watch explores the topic of permitting in Alaska. What is the process? What can we expect from a mine plan? What regulatory or legislative items may affect development of the proposed mine?
New Pebble Watch permitting guide developed to highlight the various permits that will likely be required by PLP. Use it to find out which permits include a public input period.
Q & A with Sharmon Stambaugh, large mine project coordinator with Alaska's Department of Natural Resources.
22 January 2013
International mining group Rio Tinto has selected Sam Walsh as its new CEO, after letting Tom Albanese go earlier this month over disappointing losses posted by the Anglo-Australian giant. Last April, as reported by Pebble Watch, Albanese had told Rio Tinto shareholders that he opposed developing Pebble as an open-pit mine. Walsh is not on record with an opinion about the design of the proposed Pebble mine.
Albanese is a graduate of University of Fairbanks whose experience includes serving as general manager of the Greens Creek mine near Juneau in the 1990s.
Rio Tinto owns a 19.6 percent share of Northern Dynasty Minerals, a 50 percent member of the Pebble Limited Partnership, which seeks to develop the Pebble prospect.
10 January 2013
In an article published today in the Alaska Journal of Commerce, reporter Elwood Brehmer writes that some opponents of the proposed Pebble mine are dissatisfied with draft revisions the Alaska Department of Natural Resources has made to the 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan.
Draft revisions were posted to DNR's website on Friday, Jan. 4, and are open for public comment until April 4, 2013.
Brehmer quotes Tim Bristol of Trout Unlimited, which originally called for the state to make revisions, as saying, "We think the state has a lot more work to do to get this thing right."
And Tom Tilden, chief of the Curyung Tribal Council, is quoted advising DNR to hold public meetings on the issue ahead of the public comment deadline.
06 January 2013
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released the Public Review Draft (PRD) of the Determination of Reclassification and Plan Amendment to the 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan (2005 BBAP). Following a 90-day public review period, which may result in changes to the PRD, DNR intends to adopt the proposed revisions to the 2005 BBAP. Once adopted, this plan, as modified by the adopted plan revisions, will serve as the basis for the management of state lands and waters within the planning area for the next 20 years.
The state would like input on the PRD. Written comments must be received on or before April 4, 2013, by mail, email, fax or through the DNR website.
04 January 2013
The Keystone Center is planning a two-day science panel to cover sections of the Pebble Limited Partnership's Environmental Baseline Document that were not addressed in previous science panels. Topics will include wetlands, vegetation, wildlife and endangered animals. While details are still being determined, the Keystone Center is anticipating that the panels will be held in April at a location in the Bristol Bay watershed.
04 January 2013
The state of Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has revised a portion of the 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan and is seeking public comment on those changes through April 4, 2013.
The Bristol Bay Area Plan is a legal document that determines how land in the Bristol Bay area can be used. Areas can be given up to three classifications for uses such as: Mineral, Wildlife Habitat, Public Recreation, Resource Management and Settlement.
The state is proposing revisions to the 2005 Bristol Bay Area Plan based on the outcome of agreement between the state and plaintiffs who had litigated to change classifications designated in the plan. Litigation was dropped after the State agreed to review the plan and the plaintiffs' arguments.
According to the DNR press release on the revisions, proposed changes to the plan include:
What do these changes mean for development of the proposed Pebble mine? It is unclear now how these changes could affect development of the proposed Pebble mine. According to the map provided by DNR, it appears as though the reclassified areas lie outside of identified major mineral deposits (see DNR map of proposed changes).