Pebble Mine Loses Its Major Funder

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=sockeye+salmon&search_group=#id=36902389&src=HrNLsCRve9agm2-cl505gw-1-0">Vasik Olga</a>/Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Supporters of Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine—an open-pit copper and gold mine said to contain hundreds of billions of dollars in resources but also the potential to wipe out an entire region’s way of life—took a major blow Monday when one of the main companies behind the project pulled out. Anglo American, one of the world’s largest mining companies, said it would rather focus on other projects in its stable.

The Pebble Mine would be the largest of its kind in North America. Former Mother Jones staff writer Kate Sheppard put it into perspective in May: “[The mine] would be as much as two miles long, a mile and a half wide, and 1,700 feet deep … [sitting] at the headwaters of the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers, which feed into the Bristol Bay, producing as much as 11 billion tons of toxic mine waste over a span of decades.”

“Despite our belief that Pebble is a deposit of rare magnitude and quality, we have taken the decision to withdraw,” said Mark Cutifani, Anglo’s CEO. “Our focus has been to prioritise (sic) capital to projects with the highest value and lowest risks within our portfolio, and reduce the capital required to sustain such projects.”

In other words, Anglo would rather focus on projects that might actually move forward. After sinking $541 million into the project, the company likely took a cold look at the significant regulatory hurdles and political opposition. Joel Reynolds, the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Marine Mammal Protection and Southern California Ecosystem projects, made the case in May 2012 that the Pebble Mine would have a hard time overcoming its negative baggage and was ultimately a bad investment in every way. “The Pebble Mine makes no sense environmentally, economically, culturally, or legally, and it ought to be abandoned,” he wrote.

The mine’s only remaining funder is Northern Dynasty, an organization created in 2001 to conceptualize and develop the massive project. Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen said that the company has the “expertise and resources necessary to advance” the project, but that advancement likely would only carry it to finding another deep-pocketed partner.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate