New Pebble partner tests the water

Bristol Bay fights to keep water clean, fish healthy

Dec 19, 2017
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Canada’s Northern Dynasty Minerals, the parent company of Pebble Limited Partnership, has been pushing the proposed Pebble mine project for over ten years, despite consistent, intense opposition from the people of Bristol Bay and Alaska.

Bristol Bay residents have said no to the Pebble mine for over ten years and will keep saying no when a new Pebble partner tests the water

Photo by Donald Blank

The company just announced a potential investment partnership that will fuel its next step to put a huge copper and gold mine at the headwaters of arguably the last great wild salmon fishery in the world.

The deal with Vancouver-based First Quantum Minerals would give Northern Dynasty an infusion of cash while offering Quantum the option to buy a 50 percent interest in the proposed project over the next four years.

Northern Dynasty needs the money. It has never run a mine, let alone generated a single dime of revenue.

Bad money after bad

Companies have poured money into the project before. Rio Tinto and Anglo American joined Northern Dynasty for years, but abandoned the project in 2014 and 2013, respectively, because of fierce opposition to the proposed mine.

The latest partnership only deepens the resolve of the people of Bristol Bay. Within hours of the announcement, they already sent a letter to First Quantum to fill the company in on local opposition to the project.

The threat is real, the resolve absolute

The Koktuli River winds its way down into Bristol Bay. Photo by Carl Johnson.

The ore deposit sits on a porous watershed that connects hundreds of miles of rivers and streams to the marine environment of Bristol Bay. Water moves through and between the soil and waterways from the bay to mountain headwaters, with salmon using nearly all of that habitat throughout their life cycle.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s own Watershed Assessment concluded that a mine would be catastrophic to the region’s fisheries and wildlife.

“This is not the first company to test the waters with this proposed mine,” said Myrtice Evalt, interim executive director for Nunamta Aulukestai, a coalition of Alaska Native Village Corporations and tribes in the Bristol Bay region. “This proposed project is not welcome here. We will fight this project long after this company leaves, because this is not about money for us. This is about our communities, our culture, our homes.”

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