Bristol Bay, Alaska
The Pebble mine is a massive copper/gold mine proposed in southwest Alaska at the headwaters of Bristol Bay and of the world's largest remaining wild sockeye salmon fishery.
Sockeye salmon. Credit: Ben Knight
The mine, planned by companies Northern Dynasty and Anglo American, would be the biggest mine in North America, with an estimated footprint of 30 square miles. Based on current projections, the mine would generate 10 billion tons of mine waste. The tailings waste would be stored in a seismically active area behind earthen dams. The mine has proposed to use nearly 35 billion gallons of water a year and would dewater key salmon spawning streams. It would also require the construction of a 100-mile road, and a massive power plant.
Dillingham protest against the mine. Credit: Matt Davidson
Alaska native communities and commercial fishermen, who rely on the sustainable salmon fishery for their way of life and livelihoods, strongly oppose the mine. Read more about communities opposed to Pebble.
Leading jewelry retailers have also expressed their opposition to the mine, recognizing that the Bristol Bay watershed is an ecosystem of international significance and that much of the area is designated a Fishery Reserve. Many have now signed the Bristol Bay Pledge to show their support for protection of the Bristol Bay watershed.
Most of the jewelers who have signed the Bristol Bay Pledge are also signatories to the Golden Rules.
Several Bristol Bay Native leaders and commercial fishermen went to the Anglo American annual general meeting in London to explain to the company the level of opposition to the Pebble mine. Read more about their success on Our Bristol Bay.
Anglo American's other mines around the world do not give these community members any confidence that the Pebble mine would safeguard the fisheries. The company professes to uphold high standards of corporate responsibility. But the new report, Anglo American's Track Record: Rhetoric or Reality? shows otherwise. The report reviews Anglo's track record regarding environmental protection, worker safety, community impacts, and public health problems at many of its major metal mining operations.
[Updated November, 2010]
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