November 2013

22 November 2013

Remaining partner outlines investor requirements, states Pebble case at resource conference

Northern Dynasty Minerals (NDM) President Ron Thiessen told attendees of the Alaska Resource Development Council (RDC) conference that the Canadian mining company is actively looking for a new investor in the Pebble project now that Anglo American has withdrawn.

No decisions will be made on timing for going to permitting until that investor is identified, said Thiessen. He noted that the permitting paperwork is 90% complete and that "we'll be ready to go." He also outlined characteristics that a new investor must have, including:

  • financial resources
  • technical capabilities
  • experience operating in the United States
  • commitment to environmental stewardship and working in partnership with communities
  • a shared vision to develop the Pebble resource in full partnership with Alaska Native corporations and communities

Earlier in the day, Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) CEO John Shively had presented his case for how the Pebble project could benefit the people of Bristol Bay, saying that he was initially interested in working for PLP because of his desire to help create jobs in Alaska.

News article from Alaska Dispatch on Thiessen's presentation. 

Links to speaker presentations from the entire RDC conference.

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18 November 2013

In the news: November 18, 2013

Recent news related to the proposed Pebble mine:

Bristol Bay initiative likely to make it to ballots (

The Associated Press reports that the "Bristol Bay Forever" initiative, which would require legislative approval for large-scale mining projects such as the proposed Pebble mine, appears to have enough signatures to be placed on the ballot next year for a public vote. The Division of Elections expects to certify the proposal in mid-December.

Read the story.

DNR calls off public meetings for permitting bill (
Alaska's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has determined that it's not feasible to hold public meetings to discuss House Bill 77, the controversial legislation that is designed to streamline permitting in regards to water rights. This story from Alaska Public Media describes the issue and quotes DNR deputy commissioner Ed Fogels as saying that the agency is willing to discuss the legislation with anyone who has questions about it, and will also meet with individual stakeholder groups.  

Read the story.

Read HB77.

Utah mine becomes debating point in Alaskan environmental fight (KSL Broadcasting, Salt Lake City, Utah)
Reporter John Hollenhorst traveled from Utah to Alaska to develop this story about the proposed Pebble mine. He includes footage from the recent Alaska Native Professional Association (ANPA) meeting that Pebble Watch covered, as well as comments from Pebble project proponents and opponents. Utah's Bingham Canyon Mine, also called Kennecott Copper Mine, is one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world. It is owned by Rio Tinto, which is also partly invested in the Pebble project. 

Read the story/watch the video.

Dena'ina cultural studies (APRN)
KSKA's Addressing Alaskans program recently featured two stories related to the culture of the Dena'ina peoples of Southcentral Alaska. "The Importance of Salmon for the Dena'ina," a presentation by Dr. Alan Boraas focuses on the cultural traditions of the Dena'ina people related to salmon. "Dena'ina Songs," presented by Craig Coray, highlights songs his father recorded in 1954 in Nondalton. Boraas co-authored the EPA Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment’s “Report on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Cultural Characterization of the Nushagak and Kvichak Watersheds, Alaska.”

Listen to "The Importance of Salmon for the Dena'ina."

Listen to Dena'ina Songs.

Young Bad River Documentary featured at Big Water Film Festival (UpNorth Explorer)

A potential mine in Indian country has become “the source of much impassioned debate between those who argue for economic development and more jobs, and those who speak of environmental and social consequences a mine may bring." Sound familiar? It’s not Pebble. Three teens from the Bad River Tribe in Wisconsin have produced a film to speak about the potential impact of the taconite mine proposed for the Penokee Hills of Ashland and Iron counties, Wisconsin.

Read about the student project.

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Pebble Watch presents at AISES conference

Andria-AISES2013A Pebble Watch-based interactive presentation on communicating science premiered Nov. 2 in Denver to a group of Native American scientists, students and educators attending the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) annual conference this year.

Andria Agli, Vice President, Shareholder and Corporate Relations for Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC), presented the talk, "Communicating Science Across Cultures: Lessons learned by the Alaska Native educational program Pebble Watch," accompanied by a PowerPoint and group activities. The session sparked questions about Pebble as well as conversation about how scientists can best communicate science across barriers including age, class, cultures, educational levels, and fields of specialty.

"Even if you're not in communications, it's likely that helping communicate your work to the public will be a part of your job as a scientist," Agli said.

jargonsheets1After an introduction to Pebble Watch, attendees split into small groups and attacked the first activity: listing out examples of "jargon," or words that were everyday language to them but would need to be explained to others. Among the numerous examples the group came up with and posted at the front of the room were: portals, websites, "young of year," riparian, sonomicrometry, hydrological analyses, palynology, sustainability, pipeline and "selfies."

In another exercise, participants read examples of writing about Pebble to guess who had written them: developers, a state or federal agency, or environmental groups. Many were surprised that the answers were not obvious, and had to do more with subtle changes in focus than with obvious word choices.

For example, two of the statements accurately described the amount of copper versus rock thought to be present at the Pebble deposit. But where the statement from potential developers focused on the 1% of the deposit that would be recovered as copper, the statement from environmentalists focused on the 99% likely to be discarded as waste rock or tailings.

Agli explained how BBNC continues to support PebbleWatch taking an objective and largely independent approach to its coverage, even while the Board has taken a stance against the Pebble project. She also encouraged scientists and educators in the room to be advocates for clear communication of science in both their Native communities as well as among their scientific peers. "You can be a link between western and traditional science," she said.

AISES' 3-day conferences have been held annually since 1978, bringing together high school juniors and seniors, college students, graduate students, teachers, science professionals and corporate representatives from the sciences to offer opportunities for networking, fellowship and learning—encompassing the ways of western science as well as indigenous/elder wisdom.

BBNC also attended the event for recruiting purposes. For more about AISES, see the society's website.


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