Photo Essay: Ground-Zero Images of the Pebble Mine Site Show What’s at Stake


Written by: Phil Monahan


The New Halen River flows between Lake Clark and Lake Iliamna, and offers some of the least
tried Class 6 whitewater in North America. It will also have a bridge over it and a haul road
next to it if the Pebble Mine is constructed.

photo by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Award-winning photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum is known for his stunning images that highlight important environmental issues. In fact, Audubon magazine listed him as one of the 100 people “who shaped the environmental movement of the 20th Century.”

He has recently started posting images from a series that he calls “Pebble Mine—Pictures from Ground Zero.” Enjoy the beauty in the photos here, and then try to imagine that same landscape scarred by the world’s largest open-pit mine.

Click here to learn more about Pebble Mine.

Click here and here to follow Robert Glenn Ketchum on Facebook.


Upper Talarik Creek, a world class fly-fishing destination.
Recreational fishing and tourism generate millions of dollars in annual revenue and employment in
perpetuity
if the resources are well managed. The Pebble Mine’s life will be short, but it will
generate millions of gallons of toxic, cyanide-leach solution which will have to be
stored in perpetuity to protect these waters and the connected American fishery.

photo by Robert Glenn Ketchum


This is Lake Clark, which will share a border with the Pebble Mine. Should these kinds of
American natural resources be squandered in the pursuit of fashionable jewelry?

photo by Robert Glenn Ketchum


The Pebble mine will use more electricity on a daily basis than Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska.
Pebble intends to generate power from burning coal mined on-site. Coupled with the industrial
vehicle smog the mine will generate, you can kiss the air quality of Lake Iliamna, Lake Clark
National Park, and Katmai National Park goodbye… and good luck keeping the
mercury
particulate from coal burning out of the fishery.

photo by Robert Glenn Ketchum


SW Alaska/Bristol Bay is a world of water… water everywhere, and right at the surface.

photo by Robert Glenn Ketchum


Besides a massive complex of roads that will define the Pebble Mine extraction site, a long “haul” road must be built to get minerals out. The haul road will bridge the New Halen River of Lake Clark, it will run along the shoreline of Lake Iliamna for miles, bridging and disrupting dozens of salmon streams.

photo by Robert Glenn Ketchum


This is
Twin Lakes in Lake Clark National Park. Beyond the mountains to the right, the proposed Pebble Mine complex would belch industrial auto smog, and a mercury-laden haze from coal-fired power generation. A 20-square-mile cyanide slurry lagoon would seem ocean-like from shore-to-shore.

photo by Robert Glenn Ketchum


The EPA has determined the Pebble Mine will damage salmon rivers, destroy habitat, and is a threat
to the Bristol Bay fishery. This is Ground Zero, and you can see why a toxic mine, leaking and/or
draining water downstream affects everything. Follow the water in this picture: it is where the life is.

photo by Robert Glenn Ketchum


The Pebble mine will be 2,000 feet deep and two miles across. There will be a constant influx of ground-
water that will require pumping 24/7/365 to keep the mine from flooding. That liquid, tainted with
cyanide and iron oxides, will be pumped into “lagoons” that will spread over 20 square miles
of the landscape. Birds on the Pacific flyway will see that, expecting this.

photo by Robert Glenn Ketchum

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