Another investor abandons the Pebble Mine, yet it advances

Bristol Bay bear family. Photo by Mitch Carpenter

By Eric Booton

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Pebble mine is unfortunately “light” on actual accurate scientific impacts of the project proposed in the sensitive headwaters of world-class fishing habitat in Bristol Bay. (Comment now!) As Pebble touts the document, anglers nationwide are commenting on its insufficiencies to the agency backing the fast-tracked review, saying the massive project has no place in Bristol Bay.

But what the Pebble Partnership hasn’t been quick to talk about, is earlier this month they lost an investor. Does this sound familiar? Because it should.

A Bloomberg report has revealed that as of Dec. 31, 2018, BlackRock, one of the largest investment companies in the world, has sold their shares of the Pebble Mine and abandoned Northern Dynasty Minerals in their pursuit to build one of the world’s largest open-pit, hard rock mines in the heart of wild salmon country. BlackRock joins the ranks of Mitsubishi Corporation, Anglo American, Rio Tinto, and First Quantum minerals to gain a new title of “former investor" in the ill-conceived project.

BlackRock’s liquidation of NAK stocks happened after CEO Laurence Fink urged executives and board members to consider their impact to communities and the environment. 

Some of the largest mining giants and most successful investors in the world have taken a bite of the proverbial Pebble pie and found it too unsavory to finish. This is another clear indication in an ever-growing list that the proposed Pebble Mine would be the wrong mine in the wrong place, and simply too big of an economic and ecological risk to take on.

Tim Romano photo (right) 

Salmon mean business in Bristol Bay, and with world record runs in 2018, businesses is booming. The salmon resources of the region not only allow Alaska native tribes to continue their cultural traditions, but also support thriving sport and commercial fishing industries that employ over 14,000 Americans and contribute $1.5 billion to the Alaska economy, and can continue to do so year after year if managed properly. Bristol Bay’s salmon are an irreplaceable renewable resource that far outweigh the short-term profits of a Canadian mining company.

The comment period for the DEIS for the Pebble mine is open today through May 30. And with an inadequate Environmental Impact Statement and a lead agency that is ready to rush Pebble’s permits to fruition, now is the time to speak up for the fisheries of Bristol Bay.

Comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Pebble mine today and learn more about what is next for the Pebble mine here.

Eric Booton is the Alaska sportsmens outreach coordinator for Trout Unlimited. He lives in Anchorage.


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