The Challenges of Transparency: Communicating the Pebble Mine Project to the Public

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: April 20, 2017
Length: 16 pages
Product ID#: 1-430-511

Core Disciplines: Communications, Economics, Social Impact, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd holds the rights to the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The mine is the largest copper, gold, and molybdenum deposit in the world. However, the deposits are situated under the world’s most profitable and sustainable salmon fishery which supports many impoverished Native Alaskan communities who rely on the fish for their livelihoods. Extracting the minerals may harm the salmon fishery, affect a largely unspoiled landscape, and disrupt local communities and culture. But there is uncertainty surrounding these potential risks. Northern Dynasty must choose the best public engagement and transparency strategy to ensure a smooth approval process for the proposed Pebble Mine operation.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Understand how transparency fits into corporate strategy, and discuss under what conditions companies should be more or less transparent
  • Examine how public opinion can shape business decisions
  • Analyze how the public and businesses evaluate risk and uncertainty and make decisions under these conditions
  • Discuss how companies set time horizons for business projects and the implications that those time horizons have on costs, revenues, and environmental stewardship