I believe you can do what you describe (if I understand correctly) using just
the current PDB. You will have to convert your image to Indexed Mode and then
back to RGB in order to create the previews (as Andreas stated, you can only
have 1-bit alpha when using using the GIMP's Indexed Mode).

Below you will find a link to a short Script-fu which I think provides close to
what you want (or perhaps you might just otherwise gain some inspiration from
it). You will have to provide your own code to save the Indexed version and the
resulting layer mask (which is the N-bit Alpha channel), as well as create any
miniaturized previews; the script is merely intended for demonstration of a

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