Letter: Companies: Go elsewhere to dig for gold and copperI am outraged that the world’s most powerful foreign-owned mining corporations, including Anglo America and Rio Tinto, are planning to dig one of the largest open-pit mines in the heart of the watershed that feeds Alaska’s incomparable Bristol Bay wilderness.
By: Ray Anderson, River Falls, River Falls Journal
I am outraged that the world’s most powerful foreign-owned mining corporations, including Anglo America and Rio Tinto, are planning to dig one of the largest open-pit mines in the heart of the watershed that feeds Alaska’s incomparable Bristol Bay wilderness.
Foreign mining giants intend to excavate Pebble Mine, a 2,000-foot deep open-pit gold and copper mine stretching over two miles long at the headwaters of our planet’s greatest wild salmon river systems, the Kvichak and the Nushagak.
Huge in scale, it is wide enough to line up nine of the world’s longest cruise ships and deep enough to swallow the Empire State Building.
It will spew some 10 billion tons of toxic mining waste that must be held back forever by five massive earthen dams up to 50 stories tall, all in a known earthquake zone.
Thousands of Alaskan natives, led by Nunamta Aulukestai (“Caretakers of the Land’), along with sportsmen and conservationists, are working to save one of our last great wild places from destruction.
Bristol Bay generates over $400 million in fishing revenue every year and supports tens of thousands of jobs for Alaska’s working families.
The world’s largest sockeye streams run through this paradise with tens of millions of salmon supporting not just an abundance of bears, beluga whales, one of only two populations of freshwater harbor seals in the world, but also eagles, otters, wolverines, porcupines, red fox and mink, all connected to Bristol Bay and its salmon.
Pebble Mine is an environmental disaster and the worst possible nightmare for Alaskan wilderness. Nothing like this place exists anywhere else on Earth.
You couldn’t pick a worse place to dig a gold and copper mega-mine by multinational corporations that will destroy our natural heritage and Alaskan communities in order to line their own pockets.