The Pebble Partnership announced today that it notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) that it would submit its permit application to the agency on Friday December 22, 2017. This action will initiate the thorough project review process prescribed under the National Environmental Policy Act.
“For the Pebble team, this day has been a long time in the making and is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work. We have listened to our stakeholders, supporters, and skeptics, and are presenting a much smaller mine with enhanced environmental safeguards,” said Pebble CEO Tom Collier. “Since I have been with the project, my main focus has been to initiate the permitting process so that Pebble can be fairly and objectively evaluated by the independent experts hired by the Corps of Engineers.”
Collier noted that the permitting process is the correct place to evaluate an important Alaska asset such as Pebble.
“The Pebble resource is on State of Alaska land and could generate hundreds of millions in annual economic activity for Alaska as well as generating revenues for state and local governments. It could also provide much needed year-round jobs for Southwest Alaska. As such, all Alaskans have a stake in knowing whether we can safely and responsibly operate a mine at Pebble and the place to determine this is through the rigorous permitting process,” said Collier.
Collier further noted that the company’s three objectives for 2017 included resolving the long-standing challenge from the Environmental Protection Agency’s preemptive actions against Pebble allowing the company to enter the permitting process to be objectively evaluated like all other mining projects in the nation, securing a long-term investor for the project providing sufficient funding to navigate the permitting process, and filing a permit application with the USACE initiating the objective and independent federal review process for the project.
The smaller mine plan for Pebble will not use cyanide for secondary gold recovery, keeps mining infrastructure out of the Upper Talarik drainage, and includes the following :
- Project operating life of 20 years.
- A tailings storage facility with enhanced environmental safeguards, a buttress on the embankment and segregated pyritic tailings in a separate, lined storage facility.
- Power plant fueled by natural gas from a gas pipeline from the Kenai Peninsula across Cook Inlet to the Project site with compressor stations on the Kenai Peninsula and at a port facility to be constructed at Amakdedori on the west side of Cook Inlet.
- An 83-mile transportation corridor from the mine site to a year-round port site located on Cook Inlet near the mouth of Amakdedori Creek consisting of: a 30-mile road from the mine site to a ferry terminal on the north shore of Iliamna Lake; an 18-mile lake crossing utilizing an ice breaking ferry to a ferry terminal on the south shore of Iliamna Lake; a 35-mile private double-lane road to the Amakdedori Port.
- Spur roads from the transportation corridor to the communities of Iliamna, Newhalen, and Kokhanok.
- A port facility and jetty with docking for both Handysize ships and supply barges.
Collier estimated the footprint of Pebble’s major mine facilities (pit, tailings storage facility) will be substantially smaller than previous planning iterations and has been reduced to approximately 5.9 square miles.
“We began 2017 with three objectives and I am very pleased that we will end the year having accomplished all of them. I am very pleased with efforts of our team to bring forward a plan we can all be proud of and am ready for this next chapter in the Pebble story,” said Collier.
Once the USACE has determined the sufficiency of Pebble’s application package, a detailed project description will be available for the public to review via PLP’s website.