An ongoing field program is underway at the Pebble Project this fall as a result of an additional budget allocation approved by the Pebble Partnership Board in July. Originally slated for $59 million of program work for 2009, the board decision extends Pebble’s work footprint for the year up to $70 million. Field work includes environmental monitoring, exploration drilling, and support services.
Pebble’s work plan for 2009 focuses on finishing studies and compiling information needed to complete a pre‐feasibility study about the prospect. Pebble has also been collecting and analyzing environmental data to complete the Environmental Baseline Document, an important document for the submission of permits for the project.
“Given the economic situation in Southwest Alaska we’re pleased to have additional activities underway at our site. Simply put, more work means more jobs, especially within the region. What I’m particularly pleased with is that we are able to have our driller apprentices getting the hours at a drill rig to help them become certified drillers,” said Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively.
Earlier this year, Pebble partnered with the Alaska Department of Labor and the United States Department of Labor to host a driller apprentice training programs in Kotzebue and Bethel. Twelve candidates from the Bristol Bay region successfully completed this training and nine have been employed as apprentice drillers at Pebble in 2009.
Pebble’s drilling program continues exploration work to further refine the company’s knowledge about the resource at Pebble. Pebble conducted drilling activities in May and June. The company restarted drilling activity in August and expects field work to continue through October.
Pebble’s site work also includes environmental studies – ranging from water monitoring to fish counting. With guidance and training from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Pebble partnered with Alaska Peninsula Corporation Services and R2 Resource Consultants to construct and operate a fish counting tower on the Upper Talarik Creek this summer.
Upon completion of a preliminary mine plan, the company has committed to sharing this information with Bristol Bay residents and other interested stakeholders prior to the onset of permitting.
“Having a preliminary mine plan will help Alaskans understand the facts about the opportunity Pebble presents for the region and the state. It will begin to answer the many questions we have been asked about how Pebble intends to operate a mine in the region and meet its commitment to coexist with the fishery in Bristol Bay,” Shively said.