Bristol Bay Fishermen Skeptical of Latest Pebble Proposal

A Canadian mining firm intending to develop a rich copper, gold and molybdenum deposit in Southwest Alaska says they have created a Pebble Performance Dividend that will distribute a percentage of revenue generated by the mine to year-round residents of Bristol Bay.

According to Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier, every year-round resident of Bristol Bay who wants to participate can register and learn more about the offer online at
Collier said once the mine is fully operational and profitable the plan would distribute 3 percent of net profits from the mine to registered Bristol Bay residents. The PLP acknowledge that if permitted, the mine would not yield any profits for the first several years of development, but that the PLP would ensure a minimum distribution by contributing $3 million annually toward that distribution.

The reaction to that offer was swift and critical from Bristol Bay fishermen, the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation and tribal entities.

“It’s clear the company is just trying to promise future dividends to create a illusion of support, but in reality they’ve never been a trustworthy company,” said Katharine Carscallen, speaking for Commercial Fishermen of Bristol Bay. “They will say and do anything to try and force this toxic project forward that fishermen and the regional will never support.”

Andy Wink, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, said fishermen heading out to harvest in the world ‘s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery are counting on Congress to protect some 14,500 workers directly employed in the fishery from a mine that threatens Alaskan jobs, the nation‘s food security and a salmon resource unparalleled anywhere on the planet.

Norm Van Vactor, president and CEO of Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, called the offer “an eleventh-hour desperate attempt by Pebble to make empty promises offering breadcrumbs to the very people whose lives will be ruined by this project.”

Bristol Bay Native Corporation, with offices in Dillingham and Anchorage, also voiced skepticism of the offer. “This is just another PLP tactic to try to sway public opinion on this vastly unpopular project,” said Jason Metrokin, president and CEO of BBNC.

“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,” he said.

“Bristol Bay has long-opposed this project because of the devastation it will cause to our lands, waters and people,” said Ralph Andersen of Bristol Bay Native Association. “We know that our way of life is more previous than gold and we will not allow a foreign mining company to devastate our cultures and communities.”