Alaska, Bristol Bay - Proposed Pebble Mine

State: Alaska
Region: southwest Alaska, near Lake Iliamna and Lake Clark
Description:

In September 2013, British mining giant Anglo American -- the lead company behind the potentially catastrophic Pebble Mine -- said that it was pulling out of the project immediately! This is a huge victory for the conservation community who has been fighting this mine for years, but the project is not completely dead yet. The is still more work to do to ensure that the proposal does not get funding and go through.

The proposed Alaska Pebble Mine project is an extremely large and controversial copper, gold and molybdenum open-pit mine proposed for development within one of Alaska’s Crown Jewel watersheds draining into Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska. A recent report by the EPA warns of serious threats to clean water and fish habitat, were the mining proposal to go into effect.

The 40,000 square mile Bristol Bay Watershed produces the world’s greatest commercial salmon fishery and internationally renowned salmon and trout runs that attract anglers from all over the world. The waters in this region have long been an integral part of the state’s economy, generating $400 million in revenue annually and have provided tens of thousands of sustainable jobs, subsistence foods and other benefits to Alaskans for generations.

Extracting Pebble's low-grade mineral deposits would require mining on a colossal scale: a cavernous open pit (2 miles wide and 2,000 feet deep) and underground block caving (up to 5,000 feet deep). By the partnership's own estimates, this brutal hard rock mining will generate over 9 billion tons of toxic waste and will require the construction of three enormous earthen dams (all over 700 feet tall – roughly the size of 3 Hoover Dams - only built out of dirt, not concrete) to store the waste forever.

 

View a short film of our trip over the Elko, Nevada gold mining operation. This trip showcased the massive scale of mining to give tribal members from Alaska's threatened Bristol Bay and local native Shoshone Indians the aerial perspective.



View Proposed Pebble Mine in a larger map