P E BB L E PRO J E C T NE W S L ETTER
Table of Contents INSIDE Spotlight: Sharon Wilson Pebble Fund Indigenous Groups Share Knowledge Myth Busting Mining Process NEPA
Elders Forum Provides Valuable Insight to Pebble Leaders As part of an organized discussion series, the Pebble Partnership Stakeholder Relations team arranged an Elders Forum in Iliamna in August 2009, with the blessing and assistance of area Tribes and Village Corporations. Forty-nine Elders from 13 Bristol Bay communities joined in the discussion group, offering insight, perspective and important dialogue relative to economic opportunity in the region. The primary goal of the event was to establish an opportunity for roundtable discussions and maintain open lines of communication, recognizing the significant leadership role of Elders within the region.
Gernot Wober, Director of Site Operations, and Sharon Wilson, Community Associate, explain what Bristol Bay area Elders will see during their helicopter tour of the Pebble deposit.
The Elders Forum opened with a welcome from Iliamna/Newhalenarea leaders and Elders. Sue Anelon, President of Iliamna Natives Limited, greeted every attending Elder with a smile and a hug. Attendees were excited about the opportunity to learn more about
Pebble and appreciative of the opportunity to sit with peers, ask questions and offer input. Equally important was the opportunity for Elders to visit with long-time friends and relatives. Topics covered a wide range of conversations relative to water, co-existence with fish and wildlife populations and subsistence. During the discussion, Elders expressed concern as to the high cost of living within the region, lack of economic opportunity and the flight of young people from the villages. Several discussion groups focused on ways to balance these important issues with subsistence lifestyles. Members of the Pebble team also had the opportunity to listen to and address concerns raised by Elders regarding the environment, as well as provide information about mining operations. At the closing sessions, Elders expressed a desire to continue the dialogue with more forums and suggested including young people in the next session.
2009 Ends Busy Year The close of 2009 marks the end of an active year at the Pebble Project site. An average day sees approximately 25 people working in various capacities, with 80 or more workers during high-activity periods.
Community outreach in 2009 included one-on-one dialogue, community presentations and forums. Organized site visits to the Pebble deposit provided attendees the opportunity to learn more about current exploration activities, ask questions and contribute ideas.
(continues page 2)
Activities at the site have closed for the winter season but are scheduled to re-engage in early spring.
2009 Ends Busy Year (continued)
Temporary fish-counting towers on upper Talarik Creek provide observation views for environmental research.
Residents from Igiugig take a site tour in August 2009.
The project site’s healthy bear population requires the use of trained, local-hire bear guards in camp and at research stations.
Sharon Wilson is a Pebble Partnership Community Associate for Bristol Bay, Lake Iliamna and several surrounding communities. As a long-time commercial fisherman, Sharon brings a unique understanding to the Pebble project of the area’s fish and water landscape.
Environmental research continues at the proposed site as part of the Pebble Partnership’s cumulative environmental baseline study program. Extensive scientific studies, conducted by external contractors, cover a wide range of areas pertaining to wildlife, fish, surface and ground water quality and hydrology.
“My family has fished in the area for many generations. As the youngest of seven children, I helped my mother on the setnet site by washing mud from the fish,” says Sharon.
A new study conducted in 2009 in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game included an aerial brown bear population survey at the site. Surveys of Steller’s eider and sea otters, both listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, continued throughout the year, adding substantial information to previous surveys. These studies, conducted with non-intrusive, low-noise equipment, will help establish data on seasonal distribution and abundance of wildlife populations.
Sharon’s parents are from the Lake Iliamna region. When her parents married, they moved so her father could support the family. When she was 12, the family returned to Kokhanok on Lake Iliamna. Sharon has spent her summers in the Naknek/ Kvichak District commercial fishing since the early 1970s. Her husband, Richard, and two children, Danica and Bugs, are all active commercial fishermen.
Temporary additions to Upper Talarik Creek included two fish-counting towers. Fish counts occurred for 10 minutes of
every hour for 24 hours during a twomonth period. Additional fish-specific research included rainbow trout telemetry, which tags fish for tracking, aerial salmon spawning escapement and main stem index surveys to document spawning habitat. Four automated weather stations on the port site and six in the resourcea area continually collect temperature, humidity, wind and rain information. Extensive water surveys included intensive stream hydrology studies measuring stream flow during peak periods, spring/fall, and base flow periods in winter/late summer. Ground water level measurements were taken at more than 350 locations monthly to understand the relationship between ground water levels and surface water flow conditions. Two drilling programs were completed in 2009, testing for near-surface mineralization. Combined drilling totalled approximately 34,000 feet of exploration.
Pebble Fund Continues Community Commitment
Sharon shares her extensive knowledge of the local fisheries in her advocacy for the Pebble project. Discussing issues and providing a resource for feedback and dialogue in her communities is essential to the process. King Salmon received a new oil burner and on-demand hot water system as part of the Pebble Fund sustainable grants program.
Eighteen organizations are set to receive nearly $600,000 in grants from the Pebble Fund, a sustainable development program created by the Pebble Partnership. The most recent recipients from the Bristol Bay area bring the total amount in grants awarded for 2009 to $1.6 million. It is estimated that grants awarded via the (continues page 3)
Pebble Fund Continues Community Commitment (continued) Pebble Fund have leveraged nearly $10 million dollars in additional funding to support projects throughout the region for 51 organizations. Administered by the Alaska Community Foundation, the Pebble Fund was established in February 2008 as a five-year, $5 million commitment to support community-led initiatives that promote the health of Bristol Bay fisheries and contribute to a sustainable economic future in southwest Alaska.
An independent advisory board of leaders from the Bristol Bay region consider funding requests under four primary areas: 1. Renewable resources/fish 2. Energy
3. Education 4. Community and economic development
Projects receiving funding in the latest review cycle include: Bristol Bay Elders Action Group, Community Food Bank, Phase 2 — $24,775 Chignik Lagoon Village Council, Garbage Truck — $25,000 City of Egegik, Dock Lighting — $25,000 City of Nondalton, Water/Sewer Improvements — $171,511 A complete list of awards is available at www.alaskacf.org. Applications for the next review session will be accepted online at www.alaskacf. org through February 2010. A free Web conference will be held Feb. 3, 2010. Find additional information at www.alaskacf.org under Competitive Grants.
“There are no standards in Alaska’s mine permitting process.”
There are a dozen government agencies on the state and federal level that will scrutinize the Pebble plans and 67 major permits required, including those under the Clean Water and National Environmental Policy Acts. Local government will also be involved in the permitting and review process for any Pebble development plans.
Indigenous Groups Share Knowledge The Pebble Partnership joined representatives from five Lake Iliamna area village corporations in attending the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association (CAMA) conference in Toronto, Nov. 1-3, 2009. During the three-day event, attendees met with Canadian Aboriginal leaders to learn and discuss beneficial ways that indigenous peoples can cooperatively work with government and private entities to responsibly develop natural resources in the current economic climate. From left, at Niagara Falls: Trefon Angasan, Consultant, Pebble Partnership; AlexAnna Salmon, President, Igiugig Native Corporation; Charisse Arce, Community Associate, Pebble Partnership; John Adcox, President, Pedro Bay Corporation; Debi Schmit, Business Development Manager, Pebble Partnership; Betty Chilcott, President, Kijik Corporation; Lisa Reimers, CEO, Iliamna Development Corporation; Ralph Angasan Sr., President, Alaska Peninsula Corporation.
“A disaster is virtually certain at the proposed Pebble Mine.”
Alaska’s successfully operating mines, such as Red Dog Mine, Fort Knox and Greens Creek Mine, prove otherwise. For Pebble to become operational, it must meet Alaska’s high environmental standards. This is reinforced by one of the strictest permitting processes in the world. Get the facts about the Pebble project. Visit www.pebblepartnership.com.
Mining Process There are seven major components to mine development, operation and closure. Each phase represents an important facet of the overall process, potentially spanning several decades throughout the lifespan of a mining project. 1. Exploration 2. Environmental Studies and Monitoring 3. Mine Engineering and Design 4. Permitting 5. Construction 6. Mine Operation 7. Closure and Reclamation The Pebble Partnership is currently operating in the first three phases and is considered an advanced exploration project. Once a preliminary mine development plan has been established and an environmental baseline document has been completed, the Partnership will share this information with Southwest Alaska stakeholders and then initiate the permitting process.
What is NEPA? The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 1969) requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decisionmaking processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions. NEPA is part of the environmental permitting process and includes the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pertaining to a given project. The State of Alaska permitting process runs concurrently with NEPA.
3201 C Street, Suite 604 Anchorage, AK USA 99503 (907) 339-2600 Toll-free: 1 (877) 450-2600 www.pebblepartnership.com