by Daysha Eaton
The proposed Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska will require a number of major infrastructure projects to support the operation. The projects are among the details revealed when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the company’s permit application public.
“The size difference compared to our early estimates of 12.7 square miles is now at about 10.7 square miles, so we’ve been able to make the facilities in and around the proposed mine site more compact,” said Pebble Limited Partnership spokesperson Mike Heatwole. “We are proposing a natural gas pipeline from the Kenai Peninsula across Cook Inlet and then under Iliamna Lake in order to get natural gas to our mine site in order to run our electrical generation.”
In addition, the application shows the company wants to build roads, an ice-breaking ferry and a port on Cook Inlet, to transport minerals out.
The Army Corps will select a third-party contractor to administer the environmental impact statement process, then they will move into the scoping process, which is where the public can weigh in.
Alannah Hurley with United Tribes of Bristol Bay, a group opposing the mine, says the permit application confirms their concerns.
“There is no way that the current application will not impact salmon,” Hurley said. “We are still talking about tons of toxic waste that would have to be stored forever at the headwaters of our watershed. Miles and miles of road and pipeline, a mega-port. It is still a mega-mine.”
She says even as the project moves into the permitting stage the resistance to the proposed Pebble Mine isn’t going anywhere.
“You know this is really a national issue, it is a global issue and we need people from across the nation to weigh in and help us protect this global resource for future generations,” she said.
The permitting process should begin to unfold over 2018.