Developers’ plans point toward permitting start date in 2012

Developers of the proposed Pebble project have announced plans to release an Environmental Baseline Document (EBD) in 2011, followed by a Prefeasibility Study (PFS) in 2012. These documents are expected to lay the groundwork for a detailed development plan and begin the permitting process for the mine project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) and Northern Dynasty Minerals announced the plans as part of news releases announcing details about 2011 work plans. A news release from Northern Dynasty Minerals, a 50-percent shareholder in PLP, reports that the PLP Board of Directors approved a $91 million budget for 2011 with the objective of completing the PFS in 2012 and beginning the permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The PLP news release further outlines the work plans.

Activities planned for 2011 include:

  • engineering to complete the PFS project design
  • drilling and environmental programs near Iliamna
  • stakeholder communication and outreach (to include open forums facilitated by the Keystone Center)
  • air-quality monitoring
  • fish and wildlife field studies
  • surface and ground water monitoring
  • sonic drilling in Pebble West
  • engineering drilling at the planned port site

Many of the environmental studies will also support the development of a mine closure and reclamation plan and a full suite of environmental and social management plans.

More about the development process

Environmental Baseline Document (EBD)

The EBD is required by permitting agencies in order to establish a current and detailed picture of the area to be developed. It is the cornerstone of the permitting process. According to the Pebble Partnership, it will be over 18,000 pages long and will include tens of thousands of pages of supporting appendices. Once released, the EBD will be available for public review and comment.

Prefeasibility Study (PFS)

The official PFS will give more detail about the size and design of the project. PLP has stated in the past that it is committed to sharing a completed preliminary mine plan with Bristol Bay residents and other interested stakeholders prior to the onset of permitting.


Permitting is a multi-year process that begins when the PLP submits a Section 404 Permit application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Dozens of permits from several federal, state and local agencies are required. A detailed overview is available from the Pebble Watch team’s permitting timeline and permitting matrix.