Anchorage (KTUU) An advisory committee made of Alaskans and others from the lower 48 states met for an in person meeting with the Pebble Partnership Monday in Anchorage. The Pebble Partnership invited opposition groups to hear about its future plans for a mine project in the Bristol Bay Region but they declined.
“At a very high level we just did an outline on some of our thoughts that we started to share about a smaller mine plan and for the rest of our Alaska audience that’s something we’ll be doing in a more formal way this fall,” said Pebble Partnership Spokesperson Mike Heatwole.
At the same time a group of protesters gathered on the corner of 4th avenue and K Street. Many carried anti-Pebble Mine signs and chanted “wrong mine, wrong place.”
“Their entire goal is to advise the Pebble Partnership on how to build the mine in Bristol Bay, that’s not a conversation that we want to engage in,” said Alannah Hurley, Executive Director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay.
Heatwole says a member of the advisory committee requested opposition groups attend Monday’s meeting.
“We’re not here to try and convince them at least at this juncture on what we’re doing but we’d really like to make sure their voice continues to be in the room as the more you hear from the other side the more it actually improves our design,” Heatwole said.
United Tribes of Bristol Bay argues even a smaller mine has the potential to impact the Bristol Bay fishery and those who depend on the salmon.
“You cannot change the size, the type or the location of that mine. You cannot change that it’s a low grade ore deposit,” said Hurley.
The Pebble Partnership maintains it can design a responsible plan, “…for us it’s not about trading one resource for another it’s about coexistence with the fishery because we recognize the cultural and commercial important of salmon to the region,” Heatwole said.
On Tuesday the Pebble Partnership will take the advisory committee to its site in Iliamna.