Breaking News: One of the Companies Developing Pebble Mine Backs Out. . .But the Battle Is NOT Over


Written by: Phil Monahan

The Pebble Mine project threatens one of the world’s most prolific fisheries.

Opponents of the Pebble Mine project—which would see a monstrous gold, copper, and molybdenum mine built in the breeding ground of the last great wild salmon run, in Alaka’s Bristol Bay—received some welcome news today when mining giant Anglo American announced that it was pulling out of the project. An article in today’s Anchorage Daily News quotes company CEO Mark Cutfani, explaining the decision:

Despite our belief that Pebble is a deposit of rare magnitude and quality, we have taken the decision to withdraw following a thorough assessment of Anglo American’s extensive pipeline of long-dated project options,” he said in a written statement. “Our focus has been to prioritize capital to projects with the highest value and lowest risks within our portfolio.”

Cutfani’s statement aside, it’s hard not to see this decision as a reaction to the massive public outpouring of opposition the project has faced. New numbers released today by the Environmental Protection Agency support this theory. Nearly three out of four Americans who commented on the agency’s draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment supported protecting Bristol Bay from harmful mining development in the form of the Pebble Mine. An even more powerful message came from Alaskans: some 84% of commenters from the Last Frontier opposed the project. In the Bristol Bay region, that number rose to an astonishing 98%.


Tim Bristol, Director for Trout Unlimited’s Alaska Program, responded to the news with cautious optimisms, and he called for the EPA to take this opportunity to protect the land for good.

I can’t think of a development project in the state’s history that has faced such wide and deep opposition from the citizens of Alaska, and so it’s no surprise that Anglo American announced its plans to abandon the Pebble project after 84% of Alaskans who commented to the EPA supported action to protect Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay is one of the greatest sport and commercial fishing habitats on the planet, and the EPA should act now to protect it and the more than 14,000 jobs it supports.

Although the withdrawal of Anglo American from the Pebble Limited Partnership offers a reason for hope, now is not the time to declare victory. The Pebble Partnership was a 50-50 deal between Anglo American and Northern Dynasty, which vows to continue with the project.

Click here for the full story on Anglo American.

Click here to learn more about the comments on the EPA’s draft assessment.

Click hear to learn more about Pebble Mine and what you can do to help stop it.

2 thoughts on “Breaking News: One of the Companies Developing Pebble Mine Backs Out. . .But the Battle Is NOT Over

  1. Neil Nelson

    After many years visiting and working in the Bristol Bay Area, the truth about the commitment Alaskans and others have invested in sustaining the fishing industry has never been so clear. The mines are not even committed to each other.

    Reply
  2. Scott Hed

    Phil, thanks for your continued coverage of this critically important issue for anglers everywhere.

    I have always maintained that if something like Pebble could happen in a place like Bristol Bay…then EVERYTHING/EVERYPLACE is potentially on the table, and nothing is off limits. The question Where do you draw the line? is no longer applicable, because the line will have been obliterated if Pebble ever came to be.

    Through the hard work and incredible alliances formed by Alaska Natives, commercial fishing interests, and the sporting community ranging from catch and release anglers and all the companies that sell them gear to big game hunters and firearms manufacturers, it has truly been inspirational to be involved with this effort. It is only because of the depth and breadth of support shown for protecting Bristol Bay that we have reached this point – and have helped to drive the big bucks partner in Pebble out of the project.

    As you noted, it is not the death knell for this horrendous idea. But it is a significant blow and we need to double our efforts once again to convince President Obama and the EPA to use the authority granted under the Clean Water Act to protect this amazing place, fishery, resource, and robust economy.

    Cheers to Orvis and all the rest who have helped get us deep into the red zone. Now we need to finish the job and punch it into the end zone. You have stuck with us this far. This will go down as one of the most significant fishing and hunting conservation victories in history – be a part of it!

    Reply

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