An active program of stakeholder outreach has been undertaken at Pebble, and has included community meetings, stakeholder visits, presentations and event appearances, as well as stakeholder tours to the Pebble Project site and to operating mines in the United States and Canada. The focus of these outreach activities is to update stakeholders on the Pebble Project, to receive feedback on stakeholder priorities and concerns and to advise participants about modern mining practices.
Stakeholder outreach and community engagement is ongoing, although at a reduced scale commensurate with other project activities. As the Pebble Project advances toward the completion of a Project Description and preparation for project permitting under NEPA, it is expected that the Pebble Partnership will initiate further stakeholder engagement programs to involve stakeholders in the planning process.
Some of the Pebble Partnership’s initiatives and partnerships are listed below:
- The Pebble Fund for Sustainable Bristol Bay Fisheries & Communities – Since 2008, the Pebble Partnership has provided grants totaling $4.75 million to not-for-profit organizations in southwest Alaska. Pebble Fund grants have supported 139 different community projects and infrastructure initiatives in 25 Bristol Bay villages, while leveraging an additional $13 million in matching grants.
- The Bristol Bay Marketplace Business Idea Competition – Beginning in 2011, the Pebble Partnership sponsored a business plan competition for residents of southwest Alaska, and provided funding for local entrepreneurs to start or expand their businesses.
- The Keystone Center – The Pebble Partnership sponsored the Keystone Center, a non-profit organization specializing in facilitating stakeholder-driven consultation processes concerning contentious science-based issues, to oversee five Independent Science Panel events to provide expert insight on technical and scientific data compiled by the Pebble Partnership. Topics included: geology and geochemistry; hydrology and water quality; fish, wildlife and habitat; and social, economic and cultural dynamics.
- Elders Forum – The Elders Forum is an event hosted by the Pebble Partnership to foster dialogue and information exchange with Native elders and youth from communities throughout the Bristol Bay region. More than over 200 attendees representing 21 communities have participated in the Elders Forum.
The Pebble Project is also forging strong commercial relationships with local businesses. Iliamna Natives Ltd., Alaska Peninsula Corporation, Pedro Bay Corporation, Igiugig Native Corporation, Tanalian Inc. and Kijik Corporation are all Alaska Native village corporations with which the Partnership has established relationships.
In response to these and other community and stakeholder outreach efforts, 21 Alaska Native village corporations, tribes and borough governments in southwest Alaska have passed resolutions supporting the Pebble Partnership’s efforts to design an environmentally sound and socially responsible project, and advance through the federal and state permitting process.
As the Pebble Project advances toward the completion of a Project Description and preparation for project permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), it is expected that the Partnership will initiate further stakeholder engagement programs to involve local residents and all Alaskans in the planning and permitting process.