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n a stunning turn of events that has brought new

without destroying the world-class salmon runs that

hope to Alaska’s Bristol Bay, British mining giant

are the economic, cultural and ecological linchpin

Anglo American — the lead company behind

of the region. But an in-depth study last year by the

the controversial Pebble Mine — has announced that

EPA found that the Pebble Mine posed “catastrophic”

it is abandoning the project. The surprise decision

risks to Bristol Bay. More than 600,000 Americans

dealt a heavy blow to the proposed gold and copper

then called on the agency to use its power under the

operation, which

Clean Water Act

would produce some

to stop the mine.

10 billion tons of

Meanwhile, Anglo

contam­inated waste

American was

and threaten the

deluged by nearly a

greatest wild salmon

million messages of

runs on the planet.

protest from NRDC

“Anglo American

Members and was

finally realized that

dogged by our full-

the Pebble Mine

page anti-Pebble

is a financial and

newspaper ads that


ran during its annual

disaster waiting to happen,” says Joel Reynolds, who

shareholder meetings At stake: the river systems above Bristol Bay support the greatest wild salmon runs on the planet.

has led NRDC’s Stop Pebble campaign since 2010. The company’s wake-up call came after it spent $541 million trying to develop the mine. It faced intense opposition from a united front of local residents, Native groups and commercial fishermen as well as worldwide protest stoked by an NRDC action campaign led by Robert Redford. “Four years ago, the idea of Anglo American’s throwing in the towel was unthinkable,” notes Taryn Kiekow, who has coordinated NRDC’s efforts with local and national partners. “People power has made the difference.”

in London. The most recent of those

ads called on the company’s new CEO, Mark Cutifani, to break with his predecessors and avert disaster by pulling the plug on Pebble. Now he has done just that. Does Anglo’s exit mean the Pebble Mine is dead? “Definitely not,” says Reynolds. Northern Dynasty Minerals, now the sole owner of the project, is already looking for a new partner to help fund the mine. NRDC will be focused on making sure that other companies — including Rio Tinto, which owns a big stake of Northern Dynasty — aren’t tempted to make the same bad bet that Anglo American made. Above all, we will be ramping up public pressure on EPA

For years, Anglo American claimed it could gouge a

to permanently protect Bristol Bay by banning large-

vast and toxic open pit out of the Bristol Bay watershed

scale mining in this American Eden.

Headwaters of Bristol Bay © Robert Glenn Ketchum


Anglo American Quits Pebble Mine!


Nature's Voice Fall 2013