Mike Heatwole, spokesperson for the Pebble Limited Partnership in Anchorage, says that the PLP, a subsidiary of a global Canadian mining group, made a decision recently to sell off a number of items that were sitting idle and depreciating in value, but will retain sufficient inventory to advance once a new partner is chosen.
“There is a lot of interest,” he said. “It is still a world class discovery.”
A list of the equipment, which has been posted in several villages in the Bristol Bay watershed, includes fuel tanks, tank stands, fuel containment, water pumps, generators, shop tools, exercise equipment, kitchen equipment, radios, SAT phones, tractors, shipping containers, light tower, thermoelectric heaters, building material, tools, buildings, tents, wood tables, chainsaws, specialty tools and much more.
Heatwole said that there has been considerable interest in the equipment, whose sale is being handled by the Iliamna Corp., the Alaska Native village corporation for the community closest to the mine site.
The Iliamna firm has been a partner in the venture, providing housekeeping, fuel sales, catering and site support services, he said.
The site is currently idle, with three people serving as caretaker staff, as the PLP continues its search for a new investor to develop the massive deposit of copper, gold and molybdenum. The PLP and past partners have already spent millions of dollars in the exploration phase and have yet to secure permits to proceed with development of the mine.
Proponents of the mine, some 200 miles southwest of Anchorage, say development of the project would significantly boost the economy of the region and the state, and provide enough copper to supply one third of domestic needs for years to come.
But there is much opposition to the project from commercial, sport and subsistence harvesters of Bristol Bay’s run of wild sockeye salmon, hunters, environmental groups and others, who say the mine could adversely affect salmon habitat, destroying a multi-million dollar fishery on which thousands of people and area wildlife depend on for income and sustenance.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that large-scale mining poses risks to salmon and the tribal communities that have depended on them for thousands of years.
The risks, the EPA concluded, would include destruction of up to 94 miles of salmon supporting streams and 5,350 acres of wetlands, ponds and lakes.
More information on the EPA study, undertaken in 2010 at the request of several Bristol Bay Alaska Native tribes, is online at http://www.epa.gov/bristolbay.