Anglo American announced last September that it was withdrawing from the proposed Pebble Mine, citing a desire to focus on projects with the “highest value and lowest risks.” Today it released a statement confirming that its exit from the project is complete.
This leaves Northern Dynasty Minerals with full ownership and control of the controversial Pebble Mine – a colossal gold and copper mine proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s legendary salmon runs. Despite Anglo’s departure, Northern Dynasty plans to forge ahead with federal and state permitting in 2014.
But if anything, the news for Northern Dynasty appears to be getting worse – not better. According to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Northern Dynasty Minerals has only $22.5 million on hand in cash and cash equivalents for its operating requirements. The operating budget for the Pebble Limited Partnership in 2013 alone – even before mine permits or development – was over $80 million.
Northern Dynasty is scrambling to find an investor with the money and expertise to advance the project. Pebble Mine, however, is a bad investment filled with insurmountable environmental, economic, operational, reputational, social, regulatory, and legal risks. Mitsubishi Corporation realized it in 2011 when it sold 100% of it is interest in the Pebble project. Anglo American just realized it. We will continue to campaign to ensure other would-be investors – such as Rio Tinto, which now owns almost 20% of Northern Dynasty’s share in Pebble – realize it as well.
Northern Dynasty’s determination to bulldoze ahead with the project means that the fight to stop Pebble Mine must continue full-force. It remains critically important for EPA to take action under the Clean Water Act to permanently protect the fishery and water resources of Bristol Bay. Salmon are the economic, cultural, and ecological lifeblood of the region, supporting a $1.5 billion annual commercial fishery and 14,000 workers. Salmon also sustain the culture, tradition, and spirituality of native communities that have relied on subsistence fishing for thousands of years, and they are food to a vast array of wildlife, including bears, eagles, seals and whales.
Click here to urge EPA to protect this vital resource.