“We will never relent in our fight against the Pebble Mine,” reads the full-page ad running today in the Vancouver Sun as Northern Dynasty Minerals and its shareholders gather for the company’s annual meeting in Vancouver. “Because Bristol Bay, Alaska, is a national treasure, and its people, wildlife, and the greatest wild salmon fishery on earth depend on it.”
This is not the message that Northern Dynasty Minerals wants its shareholders to hear. 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.
Since First Quantum walked away, Northern Dynasty Minerals does not have the money to permit—let alone build—the Pebble Mine. Indeed, all of its major partners have fled the project: Mitsubishi in 2011, Anglo American in 2013, Rio Tinto in 2014, and now First Quantum in 2018. Northern Dynasty has said it needs $150 million just to advance into permitting; as of its most recent financials (March 2018), it had only $22.5 million U.S. in cash.
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.”
It should therefore come as no surprise that the Pebble Mine faces overwhelming opposition.
Today's ad is signed by tribal and business leaders in Bristol Bay, as well as commercial fishermen, sportsmen, and environmental and conservation organizations. This wide-spread and tenacious opposition shows that Northern Dynasty Minerals will never obtain the social license to build its disastrous project, even as Northern Dynasty desperately tries to “reposition” its project with a big public relations push.
It won’t work.
“Northern Dynasty Minerals, we’re prepared to fight forever,” reads the ad’s tagline. “Are you?”
You can fight, too. Tell the Army Corps to say “no” to Pebble’s permit application.