Mark Hamilton: The Fraser Report shows the importance of ‘policy perception’


Part 11 of a series on the Pebble Project.


The Fraser Institute Annual Survey of mining companies looked at 2,700 exploration, development, and other mining related companies around the world.  Their findings consider mineralization and policy perception. They compile an overall investment attractiveness index. The mineralization looks at what’s there, and the policy perception is a judgment on the “hospitality” of the regulations, taxes etc.

Investors report that 40 percent of their investment decision is determined by policy perception. 

Assessment of mineralization puts Alaska as the fifth most desirable in the world.  We have the minerals.  

But assessment of policy perception is not so good.  We rank 29th, about six spots above Botswana.  Comments include “in Alaska, science is determined at the voting booth.” The report notes that frequent ballot initiatives concern investors.

This is not good for a resource development state.  We must have what is seen to be a level playing field, that is, if you can demonstrate that your project is compatible with the environment, you will get a permit.

Besides the every-two years initiatives that target resource development, there are warnings about “foreign companies.”  I have confronted those concerns with “shhh, don’t want to have BP hear you (whoops, too late on that one), or Holland America, or Royal Dutch Shell.  

Come on, people. Do you understand that the four richest families in Alaska could not build a mine.  You must have investors.  Calling out Northern Dynasty as a “foreign investor” is nearly laughable. It’s Canada, not China. Would you feel differently if you knew that 60 percent of the stock is owned by Americans?  Probably not, because the whole point of “foreign investor” is to create some sort of xenophobic caution.

Nothing is out of bounds for the opponents of development. Some are just in it for money, so they know no bounds.  Others, believing they are pursuing the “greater good” excuse themselves from decency; it’s OK to lie, to sell fear, to put out completely unfounded assertions because saving the environment is the greater good. Saving the environment is certainly good; but lying to save it should not be excused.  

Purposefully making people afraid should not be excused. There is a process to determine the environmental impacts. We’ve talked about it, the NEPA process.  Find out what those impacts are, what the values of the project are; then decide the greater good.

Don’t let them Pebble you again!

Read the Fraser Mineralization Report at this link.

Pebbled 1: Virtue signaling won out over science in project of the century

Pebbled 2: Environmental industry has fear-mongering down to an art

Pebbled 3: The secret history of ANWR and the hand that shaped it

Pebbled 4: When government dictates an advance prohibition

Pebbled 5: EPA ‘just didn’t have time’ to actually go to Bristol Bay

Pebbled 6: The narrative of fear

Pebbled 7: The environmentalists who cried wolf

Pebbled 8: Build your media filter based on science, not narrative

Pebbled 9: The history of hysteria

Part 10: Here we go again, EPA doubling down on power grabbing


  1. Mark, being rated next to Botswana, in terms of resource extraction desirability, is also not good for our Native Corporations nor their revenue sharing model.

  2. I don’t really understand. I followed the link Mark provided to the 2020 Fraser Report and downloaded the Excel file that included tables from the report. Alaska ranks 13th in Policy Perception Index, not 29th. We fall behind 6 US states, 2 Canadian Provinces, Portugal, Finland, Ireland and Western Australia.

    And, for Mark to claim that “nothing is out of bounds” for opponents of Pebble is just dissapointing. I am aware that he is friends with some of the more active opponents in Fairbanks, and I really wonder if he holds their honesty in such low regard. I sincerely doubt it.

    • Dan, I added the 2020 report because it is the most recent I could find. Thanks for your note. – sd

    • The pot calling the kettle black. Here lies extreme hypocricy. From a retired university president who’s intentions clearly lay with multi-culturalism and environmental concerns at the expense of a vibrant mining program while serving his post……to a handsomely paid advisor to Pebble Mine and a born-again proponent of the industry. Why such a transformation? Call it dishonesty, situational ethics, or an ego that is still in search of a better massuesse. $$ Money is the root of all evil, in the end. Two government retirements seems not to be enough for some players. This guy is full of himself.

  3. Failure to allow mineral development in Alaska will lead to us becoming a colony of the federal government, in total. Additionally, we will never be truly able to develop our state without further mineral development and exploration.

  4. Everyone I know in Western Alaska is looking at mining, just like we’re looking at the PFD.

    What little Resource revenue tax (3%) will go straight to the General Fund, which in return will only create bigger, corruptor government.

    Till the Statutes are changed to collect our fair share, which needs to go straight into the Permanent Fund, Western Alaska ain’t buying.

    I know we need mines. What we don’t need is another fiasco of four decades, like trying to figure out the oil and gas tax.

    What Juneau needs is some grownups in the room. Unfortunately with no Jay Hammond’s on the horizon, we’re all in for a long miserable ride before the first step, which is , equitable taxation, is even addressed.

  5. No wonder Mark’s writing seems a bit anxious.
    How’s this for a headline: “Pebble Mine Self-Destructs, CEO Resigns, Permit Denial Urged (National Resources Defence Council, September 24, 2020, Joel Reynolds… )
    “Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier resigns two days after release of undercover videos showing him bragging to hoped-for investors about political influence to promote a massive 200-year mining scheme at the headwaters of Bristol Bay.
    But perhaps the most important revelation of the videotapes is their repeated, explicit contradiction of Pebble’s assertion that it has no plan whatsoever to mine beyond the 20-year limit stated in its application to the Army Corps of Engineers.”
    Who knows what’s behind the smoke and mirrors…. Walker seemingly making deals to give away Alaska’s natural gas to the communist Chinese, Hamilton seemingly helping giving away Alaska’s gold and copper and rare earths to the Canadians through “hospitality of regulations, taxes etc”.
    Foreign investors? Could be anybody, layers upon layers upon layers of shell-company anybodies, financing institutions and investors who prop up Northern Dynasty, we’ll never know.
    We know the communist Chinese were invited to set up their Confucious Institute in the University of Alaska while Mark presided over the university’s descent into mediocrity.
    We know the communist Chinese government, represented by the Sino-Canada Natural Resources Fund, invested $3M in Heatherdale Resources who have interests in two Alaskan mining projects, a 100% stake in the Niblack project and a 60% stake in the Delta project.
    Think about it when you pay out the nose for anything made with copper, gold, zinc or lead, but for god’s sake don’t tell Mark, he gets mad about the foreign investor thing.
    Deplorables gotta fight over PFD scraps, maybe even get an income tax, but Mark says they gotta understand “the four richest families in Alaska could not build a mine” apparently without foreign investors.
    Call it a “perception”, something’s screwy here, guess we’ll find out what it is when we get the bill, or receive our mask mandates in Mandarin.

  6. He was one of the biggest losers and takers at the UA while president. He called it “my university,” as though he was the creator. A total boastful and rank lightweight.

    • Ahmen. I never did care for the guy either. His role as UA Prez was to fly to Juneau and beg legislators for money so he could build more bureaucracy and increase the size of his fiefdom at UA. He’s the one who swelled the budget for the University, then left guys like Dunleavy to account for the overblown university budget. A total fraud and a person with no economic common sense. No wonder Pebble went down hard.

      • Exactly, Alvin. So what is the point of Hamilton’s late-to-the-party essays? Nothing else to do in his old age? Still looking for credibility? Dispensation back to the mining community to which his record was so horrible during his tenure at UA? Or, just a bunch of gargle from a silly old, retired dude who can’t remember his former, dismal record while President at UA? Take your pick. Maybe all of the above.

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