Recent Pebble copper/gold project referendum vote shows Alaska is still pro-mining
The Pebble Partnership views the recent vote by Alaskans against Ballot Measure 4, the Clean Water Initiative, as an affirmation for the future of one of North America’s largest copper and gold projects.
Posted: Tuesday , 09 Sep 2008
RENO, NV -
Pebble Partnership Public Affairs Director Sean Magee said Monday that a vote by Alaskans overwhelmingly opposed to a clean-water initiative aimed at the massive copper-gold project demonstrated that Alaska still remain "a pro-mining state."
In a presentation to the Denver Gold Forum, Magee said the project now enjoys "the highest support levels we have seen in the past six months."
Alaska's Ballot Measure 4, the Clean Water Initiative, went down in flames on August 26 as 57.14% of the state's voters rejected the measure compared to 42.86% who voted in favor. Opponents said Alaska miners feared the possible ramifications of the initiative on existing and future hardrock mines in the state.
Magee asserted that the vote shows "that Alaskans support mining as a part of their culture and the economy." He noted that Pebble has now passed a series of political tests from those opposed to the copper-gold project.
"We're confident that we are earning the support of Alaskans today," he declared. Magee also attributed the change in attitudes to the presence of Alaskan native as executives of the Pebble Partnership-a joint venture of Northern Dynasty Minerals and Anglo American.
Surprisingly 18 native and regional corporations endorsed a review of Pebble under current Alaska state mine permitting laws. Magee said the Pebble Partnership has partnerships with five native corporations in the region.
Magee asserted that two land use plans approved for the Bristol Bay Region where the project is located both call for 2% of the land to be designated for mining and mining exploration. With 30 native villages and a total population of 7,000 people in the area, Magee said the current economy is "really about commercial fishing and subsistence."
However, he claimed that that 70% of the commercial fishing jobs don't include local people. By utilizing one twelfth of 1% of the land base for the Pebble Project, Magee asserted that "we could employ every working age resident of Bristol Bay."
Magee also insisted that "commercial fishing grounds are quite distant from our project," which is located near two Bristol Bay tributaries out of a total of eight different river systems that provide water to the bay.
The Pebble Partnership intends to submit a prefeasibility study during the second half of next year. The partnership hopes to have the first concentrates shipped in 2016.
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