Pebble to Invest $73 Million in 2010

The Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) will invest up to $72.9 million in Alaska this year as part of its ongoing efforts to advance the Pebble Project toward responsible development. Among PLP’s objectives for 2010 is to work toward advancing a Prefeasibility Study (PFS) and to continue an active program at the company’s site operation in Iliamna.

The 2010 PLP work program is comprised of:

  • an engineering program to advance a Prefeasibility Study;
  • an environmental study program to continue baseline data collection and monitoring in key areas (e.g. hydrology, water quality, fish resources) and to complete an Environmental Baseline Document (EBD) in preparation for project permitting;
  • a geology and site investigation program at the company’s site operations headquarters in Iliamna to conduct ongoing exploration drilling, as well as support engineering and environmental studies;
  • a public affairs and stakeholder education program; and,
  • corporate and administrative functions associated with managing the company.

“We are pleased to be continuing our work program in Iliamna as that is where our local benefit really manifests itself via direct hire and our working relationship with area businesses,” said PLP CEO John Shively. “Our goal remains to develop a technically feasible, economically viable, and environmentally responsible plan for developing the Pebble deposit. This will present Alaskans with a clear understanding as to the opportunity that Pebble could present for the region and for the state.”

The 2010 work program will continue the company’s community investment initiatives including funding and support for the Pebble Fund. To date, the Pebble Fund has awarded $1.6 million in funding for 51 projects through 35 qualified organizations in Southwest Alaska which has helped to leverage nearly $10 million in matching funds. The company sponsors regional community programs and supports the United Way in Anchorage.

Additional work efforts in 2010 will include completion of a workforce development plan and continuation of the Driller Apprenticeship Program initiated in 2009 to help local and regional workers become certified drillers. PLP has reinvigorated its scholarship program for Southwest Alaska and will continue its support of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) at the University of Alaska with a focus on helping students from the region.

PLP is currently conducting environmental work at its site operation in Iliamna and anticipates beginning its summer drilling program in May. The company’s site operation prioritizes local and regional hire. It also contracts services from five local village corporations for a range of activities including emergency medical technicians, bear guards, driller’s helpers, surveyors, support and aviation services.

PLP began the PFS development process in 2008. Its project engineering team is comprised of 20 senior engineers and technical specialists, as well as 58 leading engineering and specialized consulting firms from around the world. Once finalized, PLP will share its proposed development plan with project stakeholders in the State of Alaska prior to initiating permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“There are two key documents that stakeholders should anticipate for review in advance of permitting,” Shively said. “First is the Environmental Baseline Document (EBD), which will compile data and analysis from all of the environmental studies undertaken the past five years. Second is PLP’s preliminary development plan. Both are essential for advancing the project into permitting. When the preliminary development plan is in place, we will share it with regional stakeholders in advance of filing for permits.”

The Pebble Project is located in Southwest Alaska on state land designated for mineral exploration and development. It is situated approximately 1,000 feet above sea-level and 65 miles from tidewater on Cook Inlet. The Pebble Partnership was established in July 2007 as a 50:50 partnership between Anglo American plc and Northern Dynasty Minerals.