A Message from Bristol Bay to Pebble Mine Investors: NEVER

Today's message in the Vancouver Sun is not what Northern Dynasty Minerals wanted its shareholders to hear as they gathered today for the company’s annual meeting in Vancouver.
Photo credit: Bristol Bay Native Corporation

“We will never support Pebble Mine in our Bay,” reads the full-page ad in today’s Vancouver Sun paid for by the tribes and village corporations of Bristol Bay, Alaska.

This is not the message that Northern Dynasty Minerals wanted its shareholders to hear as they gathered today for the company’s annual meeting in Vancouver. The company would rather paint a rosy picture that its terrible and ill-conceived mine—proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s legendary salmon runs—is somehow economically, environmentally, and socially viable.

The facts—no matter how artfully spun—tell a different story.

Fact #1: Northern Dynasty Minerals does not have the money to permit—let alone build—the Pebble Mine. All the major partners have fled the project: Mitsubishi in 2011, Anglo American in 2013, and Rio Tinto in 2014. Northern Dynasty Minerals’ stock has plummeted from an all-time high of over $21/share to around $1.50/share. To raise cash and pay its army of lawyers and lobbyists, Northern Dynasty has diluted its shares through a series of special warrant sales. Earlier this year a scathing report issued by Kerrisdale Capital Management, a private New York-based investment firm, called Northern Dynasty “worthless” and the Pebble deposit “not commercially viable.” Northern Dynasty has said it needs $150 million just to advance into permitting; as of its most recent financials (March 2017), it had only $7.2 million in cash and cash equivalents for its operating requirements.

Fact #2: Pebble Mine will always be the wrong mine in the wrong place. Proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the mine would risk a $1.5 billion annual sustainable commercial fishery that provides 14,000 jobs and supplies half of the world’s sockeye salmon. Salmon are not only the linchpin of the region’s economy, but also its lifeblood, providing food, a subsistence-based livelihood, and the sustainable foundation for the language, spirituality and social structure of its tribal communities. Bristol Bay is so special that former President Barack Obama described it as “Alaska's most powerful economic engines and one of America’s greatest national treasures” that is “too special and too valuable to auction off to the highest bidder.”

Fact #3: The people of Bristol Bay are overwhelmingly opposed to the Pebble Mine. As today’s ad demonstrates, Northern Dynasty Minerals will NEVER have the social license for its terrible project. “Fish First. Pebble Never,” reads the ad’s tagline.

All of Bristol Bay’s tribal and economic heavy-hitters signed onto this anti-Pebble ad:

  • Bristol Bay Native Corporation: the largest private for-profit development corporation in the region, representing more than 10,000 Native shareholders
  • Bristol Bay Native Association: a tribal consortium comprised of the 31 tribes in Bristol Bay
  • Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation: promotes economic growth and opportunities for residents of its 17 member communities
  • United Tribes of Bristol Bay: represents 14 federally-recognized tribes in the region
  • Nunamta Aulukestai: represents 14 native village corporations in the region
  • Alaska Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon

“Bristol Bay’s thousands of fishing jobs and way of life cannot be put at risk by Pebble,” says the ad. “Pebble Mine will always be the wrong mine in the wrong place.”

The message is as clear as Bristol Bay’s legendary waters: “Fish First. Pebble Never.”

Repeat after me: PEBBLE NEVER.

Click here to Stop the Pebble Mine.