Foreign multinationals are planning one of the world’s largest hard rock copper, gold and molybdenum sulfite mines in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska. The mine area spans over 150 square miles directly on top of some of the richest salmon grounds in our nation. Additionally:
- Four massive earthen dams will be constructed; the largest measures 740 feet, which is taller than the Space Needle!
- These earthen dams are supposed to hold back up to 10.78 billion tons of toxic waste, forever.
- That’s 3,000 pounds of toxic waste for every man, woman and child on earth.
Salmon are highly sensitive to pollution, especially copper. If salmon are exposed to even miniscule amounts of copper (parts per billion), their sense of smell is interfered and impairs their ability to locate spawning grounds and identify predators.
- Over time, negative environmental impacts on salmon streams can have a catastrophic domino effect on salmon populations and our commercial fishery.
UK-based Anglo American is the senior partner in the Pebble Partnership developing the mine project (along with junior partner Northern Dynasty). Anglo has a disastrous track record on the environment and worker safety at its worldwide mines, including:
- Zimbabwe – Acid runoff contaminated groundwater and polluted the Yellow Jacket River from a mine owned by Anglo American until 2003
- Nevada – Anglo American is responsible for the largest source of mercury air pollution in United States history. Recommendations to limit fish consumption have been issued for downwind fisheries.
- Ireland – Lead and zinc contaminated river sediments and sections of the river were closed to anglers.
- Over 220 mine workers have died at Anglo American mining operations in the last five years.
Proposed mining activity in the very headwaters of Bristol Bay will jeopardize spawning and rearing habitat and could nullify over 50 years of sustained yield management. It is well known that the long-term sustainability of the salmon fisheries requires healthy and abundant habitat for spawning and rearing.
Map of the watersheds that will directly be affected by the proposed Pebble Mine:
Map showing a closer look at the mining claims that have been made close to Lake Iliamna, which is the headwaters for Bristol Bay: