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Research Matters No. 103 Local Jobs and Income from Mineral Exploration

Pebble mine site jobs 2009-2012


Published:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - January 30, 2017 - A new report by Bob Loeffler and Jennifer Schmidt of ISER looks at jobs and income that residents of small Bristol Bay communities received during exploration at the proposed Pebble mine site from 2009 through 2012. That proposed mine has been enormously controversial, because of its proximity to the world-class Bristol Bay salmon fisheries, and there has been no exploration since 2013.
 
The authors emphasize they are neither endorsing nor opposing the proposed mine. Rather, they assessed the economic effects of Pebble exploration on Bristol Bay communities as a case study in how small, remote communities can capture more of the benefits of rural resource development. That's an important question for those communities, where jobs and cash are generally scarce. What did the study find?
 
Residents of Bristol Bay and other Alaska places got a big share of exploration jobs and income.  About 43% of those who worked at the Pebble site from 2009 through 2012 were from 18 small, mostly Alaska Native communities around Bristol Bay. Another 37% were from other areas of Alaska.
 
Jobs and income going to Bristol Bay residents increased significantly between 2009 and 2012, Employment was up from 111 in 2009 to 157 in 2012. Almost all those jobs were seasonal, and the average pay was about $19 per hour. The most common jobs were drill helper, bear guard, and skilled laborer.
 
Residents of the seven small communities nearest the exploration site got by far the most jobs, averaging 100 workers per year. That was about 14% of the total workforce in those communities, which together have a population of less than 1,000. 
 
Download the summary (PDF, 454KB) or the full report (PDF, 2MB). If you have questions, get in touch with Bob Loeffler at rloeffle@alaska.edu or call 907-250-4621. You can also contact  Jennifer Schmidt at jischmidt0@gmail.com or call 907-786-5497.
 

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