Outreach likely to downsize with loss of PLP partner

PLP CEO John Shively speaks with media after an October panel discussion about the proposed Pebble mine.

Even without Anglo American’s financial backing, Pebble Limited Partnership has said that its proposed Pebble mine project will move forward. But without additional backers, the plan’s information rollout – once envisioned as multi-pronged stakeholder educational effort – likely will be scaled down. At a recent Alaska Native Professional Association panel in Anchorage, we asked PLP CEO John Shively and PLP spokesman Mike Heatwole about how the company would set outreach priorities in light of the withdrawal.

PLP is currently assessing what activities can continue and what cannot, said Shively. Setting these priorities would not occur until November, after Anglo American transitions out of the partnership, he said. For now, almost all contractors have been sent “stop orders,” and asked to report to PLP on progress to date.

With Anglo American’s participation, PLP had reported a budget of about $80 million for 2013. “We do know that there will be considerably less funding than there has been in the past,” Shively said. “We will move the project along. There are things we can do to continue to try to educate the public on what kind of project it is. I hope that some point in the near future we will have a description of the project we can take to the public.”

A proposed Keystone panel on the mine plan is one part of the outreach that would not occur, Shively said. PLP was still awaiting Keystone’s report on the two sessions from October 2012 and May 2013, he said. Keystone confirmed receipt of a temporary “stop order,” and said a report was in progress. The nonprofit group was unaware of any final decision having been made about its involvement.

Prior to Anglo American’s announcement in September, PLP’s Heatwole had told Pebble Watch about some of the company’s initial ideas for ensuring that stakeholders would be able to access and understand the mine plan. Following are some of the elements that Heatwole described. At this time, however, it is unclear which, if any, of these communication efforts will remain in place after the transition period at PLP is complete.

PLP Website: Primary means of transmitting information on the project.

Mine plan “light”: Staff members had been working on explaining the complicated terminology and concepts of the mine plan in layman’s terms, and had considered producing multiple versions of the plan: an in-depth version and a “lighter” version that would provide an overview.

In-region meetings on mine plan: PLP was planning to take the plan to communities and get feedback before permitting.

Yup’ik translators.

As we learn more, Pebble Watch will continue to post updates to help our readers access and understand information about the proposed mine.