Iliamna provides lands for Pebble access
Last updated 5/24/2019 at 5:04am
Iliamna Natives Ltd. (INL) May 15 is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with Pebble Limited Partnership to provide transportation corridor access on INL lands to support the operation and construction of the proposed Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum mine in Southwest Alaska.
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) corporation for the Village of Iliamna said this long-term agreement is a commitment to advance the Pebble project in a technically feasible, economically viable and environmentally responsible manner, providing a range of benefits and opportunities for INL and its shareholders.
"Iliamna Natives Ltd. did not come to the decision to enter a right-of-way agreement with the Pebble Partnership lightly," said INL President Lorene Anelon. "We know we are the true caretakers of our lands and of the salmon, and we take that responsibility very seriously."
Contingent on Pebble Partnership successfully gaining the permits needed to develop the proposed mine, the agreement secures the right to develop roads, pipelines, a ferry landing site and lay-down yards on defined portions of INL lands.
In exchange for access to lands for the transportation infrastructure needed to connect the proposed Pebble Mine to a deep-water port on Cook Inlet, Pebble Partnership has agreed to annual toll payments to the ANCSA village corporation, as well as other fees prior to and during mining operations in the region.
In addition to the toll fees, Iliamna Natives Ltd. and its shareholders will benefit from the transportation infrastructure and economic activity generated by a mine at Pebble.
Some of these benefits include:
• power and transportation infrastructure developed for Pebble will lower the price of energy and other high costs of living in local communities;
• Pebble will provide training and employment opportunities for local residents, and contracting opportunities for INL, its subsidiaries and other local companies;
• the enhanced economic activity that Pebble will bring to the region will create spin-off opportunities for local businesses; and
• Pebble will provide a viable avenue for residents of Iliamna and other local villages to live in their home communities and continue with their traditional lifestyle, if they choose to do so.
One of the most important benefits for INL is preferential contractor bidding status for any Pebble-related contract occurring on its lands.
"We will always respect our culture and traditional values, but we also know our shareholders need jobs and INL needs economic opportunities for our businesses," Anelon said. "We know firsthand the vital importance of fostering an economic engine in Iliamna, and we see Pebble as the avenue to secure opportunities to achieve our own destiny to prosper."
Pebble Partnership and Iliamna Natives Ltd. have also agreed to negotiate a profit sharing agreement that will ensure INL and its shareholders benefit directly from the profits generated by mining activity in the region.
"Not only does today's announcement demonstrate that the Alaska Native landowners and those who live in closest proximity to the project support the work we are doing to advance Pebble in an environmentally sound and socially responsible manner, it also ensures they will benefit in a meaningful way from the jobs and other economic opportunities associated with the project," said Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. President and CEO Ron Thiessen.
Northern Dynasty is the owner of Pebble Partnership, an Alaska-based company formed to advance the Pebble Mine project through permitting and toward production.
Iliamna Natives Ltd. is closely following the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) permitting process for the Pebble Mine project.
United States Army Corps of Engineers, the lead agency for the Pebble EIS, is currently collecting public input on a draft EIS published earlier this year.
The INL lands addressed in the right-of-way agreement reflect the transportation corridors for the north road and ferry terminals identified in the draft EIS. Specifically, it includes a ferry landing site east of the village of Iliamna at Eagle Bay, as well as road and pipeline corridors and associated material borrow sites to link the Pebble mine site to the Iliamna airport and Eagle Bay ferry landing site.
A final EIS is slated for completion by early next year and a decision on the major federal permits required to develop a mine at Pebble is expected by mid-2020.
"We have no doubt that state and federal regulators will evaluate every aspect of the proposed Pebble mine and ensure that important factors like the water and fisheries will be protected," Anelon said. "If the state and federal governments determine that the Pebble Partnership can build and operate their proposed development safely, then INL will support the Pebble mine."