Today The Keystone Center conducted a symposium on "Responsible Large-Scale Mining,” as my colleague just blogged. While the intended purpose of Keystone’s Pebble Mine “dialogue” is to engage stakeholders, the stakeholders most directly at risk from the disastrous mine project -- Natives, residents, fishermen, and sportsmen -- rallied outside to protect Bristol Bay and stop the Pebble Mine. Between 50 and 100 people -- dressed in fishing gear and sporting "Fish First" hats -- chanted rally cries like "clean water, wild salmon"; "fish baby fish"; and "fishing families under attack - what do we do, we to fight back!" My personal favorite was "Keystone: want us out of your hair? Give us a process that is fair!" All the major Anchorage news crews covered the rally and will spread the message state-wide.
And what a message it is! The proposed Pebble Mine would be one of the largest gold and copper mines in the world. Located at the headwaters of Bristol Bay's wild salmon fishery - which contributes $445 million a year to the region's economy - Pebble Mine would produce over 10 billion tons of mining waste, to be stored forever behind giant earthen dams in a seismically active area. According to recent polls, over 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents oppose Pebble Mine, and this opposition was conveyed loudly and clearly at today's rally. Let's hope the consortium of foreign mining companies behind Pebble Mine starts listening soon.