Local Jobs and Income from Mineral Exploration

A new report by Bob Loeffler and Jennifer Schmidt of ISER looks at jobs and income residents of small Bristol Bay communities received during exploration at the proposed Pebble mine site from 2009 through 2012. That proposed mine is 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 local communities as a case study in how small, remote communities can capture more of the benefits of rural resource development.

They found that about 43% of the workers at the Pebble exploration site from 2009 through 2012 were residents of 18 small Bristol Bay communities. That totaled about 300 Bristol Bay residents over the four-year period. Residents of the seven communities closest to the exploration site got the most jobs and income, averaging 100 jobs a year and bringing nearly $1.5 million into their communities annually. Almost all the jobs were seasonal, and pay averaged $19 an hour.

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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Kevin Berry joins ISER Faculty

picture of Kevin Berry

Kevin Berry joined ISER in January as an assistant professor of economics, with a joint appointment in UAA’s economics department. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wyoming in 2015, and after that he was a post-doctoral associate at Yale University, studying adaptive human behavior and infectious disease.

His research interests include natural capital, human adaptive response to risk, human and natural systems and bio-economic modeling. He is interested in how people respond to environmental risk, including how they adapt to and mitigate risk. At ISER he hopes to work on large environmental problems involving fisheries, invasive species, and public health. In the fall he will begin teaching in the economics department. His office is at ISER, 1901 Bragaw Street, and his phone number is 907-786-1753.

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