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Pebble Reveals Revenue Sharing Plan for Bristol Bay Residents; BBNC Responds

Jun 16, 2020 | Alaska Native, Featured, Mining, News

The Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) announced the creation of the Pebble Performance Dividend, which would distribute a percentage of the revenue generated by the proposed Pebble Mine to year-round residents of Bristol Bay. According to PLP CEO Tom Collier, “When we rolled out our new, smaller mine plan in 2017, I made a commitment to find a way to share the opportunity Pebble represents with the residents of Bristol Bay. While not everyone will want to work at the mine, this ensures a direct way for everyone to participate. Whether a resident supports the project, opposes it, or is neutral, anyone who is a year-round resident can participate.”

In order to participate, Bristol Bay residents must register for the dividend. To be eligible, an individual must be a permanent resident; have resided in the Bristol Bay region for twelve consecutive months or more; have an intent to continue living in the region; and be 18 years of age or older. Other required information includes a date of birth and whether or not the individual is a shareholder of Bristol Bay Native Corporation or one of the regions’ ANCSA village corporations.

The online registration portal for residents will be open until August 31, 2020, according to the release.

It further states, “As the first several years of development will not yield profits, PLP will ensure a minimum distribution by contributing $3 million annually for distribution to all registered participants. Thus, if 3,000 residents register, the [Pebble Performance Dividend] will distribute $1,000 to qualified participants once construction begins. Residency, governance, and distribution will be overseen by an advisory board comprised of well-known Alaskans John Shively and Willie Hensley, along with residents from the region.”

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As welcome as the announcement may be to some residents in the region, the proposed mine at Pebble remains controversial. In his response to the announcement of dividend, Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) President and CEO Jason Metrokin said, “The Pebble Performance Dividend is the latest attempt by PLP to try to win support from the people of Bristol Bay for the proposed Pebble mine. PLP’s past efforts have failed and we expect this effort to fail as well.

“The Pebble Performance Dividend is the most recent example in a long history of deception and broken promises from PLP. PLP is promising a dividend ‘once construction begins’ which, according to its own timeline (an unrealistically rosy one at best), is still at least three to four years away. Why would PLP open a seventy-five-day application period now for a potential dividend that is multiple years away? This is just another PLP tactic to try to sway public opinion on this vastly unpopular project.”

Metrokin continued on to explain BBNC’s position against the mine: “BBNC’s opposition to the proposed Pebble mine is rooted in our shareholders’ culture and subsistence way of life and is strengthened by the good science that concludes that the proposed mine would cause unacceptable and irreparable adverse impacts to the Bristol Bay region. We will not trade salmon for gold, and we will not be swayed by promises of cash payments from a proposed mine that cannot and should not be built.”

As PLP continues in the permitting process, it asserts, “Developing a mine at Pebble will provide jobs, economic activity, local tax revenue, and infrastructure.”

The proposed Pebble Mine is located on State of Alaska land and would be an open-pit copper-gold-molybdenum project with an initial operating life of twenty years. A final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision from the US Army Corps of Engineers regarding the currently-proposed mine is expected this summer.

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In January, when the Biden administration announced its ban on the future sale of oil and gas leases on federal land, the news understandably ruffled the collective feathers of Alaska’s oil and gas industry.

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