First Quantum Minerals Makes the Right Call, Backs Away from Pebble Mine

The decision is a significant move for those fighting to protect Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay.
Credit: Aurora Photos/Alamy

The decision is a significant move for those fighting to protect Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay.

The Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals, the latest investor in the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, announced today that it will end its agreement with the mine’s owner, Northern Dynasty Minerals, and pull funding. “First Quantum Minerals did the right thing,” says Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney at NRDC. “They listened to the people of Alaska and walked away from the Pebble Mine.”

This is a significant move forward for the conservationists, local businesses, fishing communities, and indigenous groups who have fought construction of the controversial gold and copper mine for almost a decade.

The fourth major investor to pull out from the massive open-pit mine—which would cause irreparable damage to Alaska’s ecologically sensitive Bristol Bay watershed—First Quantum made its decision just weeks after a delegation of community leaders from the Bristol Bay region, alongside environmental groups like NRDC, attended First Quantum’s annual shareholders’ meeting, arguing strongly against pursuing the project. “It’s the wrong project in the wrong place,” Reynolds says, “and today’s announcement is the latest proof that it’s a bad investment—financially, environmentally, and socially.”

Not only is Bristol Bay one of our most pristine wild places, it also provides half the world’s supply of sockeye salmon and is home to sensitive species like bears, eagles, and wolves. The region also supports 14,000 jobs and generates $1.5 billion in economic activity each year.

“There is no more widely condemned project anywhere in the world today, and now it’s time for Northern Dynasty to walk away,” Reynolds says. “Bristol Bay is a national treasure whose invaluable fisheries resources must be protected and sustained forever.”

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