Today, I’m in London to thank the British mining giant, Rio Tinto, for its recent decision to pull out of the Pebble Mine.
In another major blow to what would be (if built) North America’s largest mine built on top of the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery, Rio Tinto announced last week it was divesting from the project and donating its shares to two Alaska charities. The company held 19.1% of Northern Dynasty – the sole owner of the Pebble Project.
This year, I joined Kimberly Williams and Bobby Andrew from Nunamta Aulukestai, and Joel Reynolds, of the Natural Resources Defense Council to meet with the CEO and senior executives of the company to express our appreciation for its decision.
The company’s divestment from the project is a significant development in the effort to protect the world’s most productive wild salmon fishery, and the 14,000 jobs, and Alaska Native communities that rely on it.
Now, Northern Dynasty is alone — a company with no mines, no operational experience, and no investors with the financial resources to move the project forward.
Yet, it isn’t over!
Despite these developments, the effort to ensure that the Bristol Bay fishery has lasting protection isn’t over.
It’s crucial that the EPA complete the job it set for itself in February, when it announced it was taking the first steps towards protecting the fishery by initiating Section 404(C) of the clean water act.
We urge them to take swift action to complete this process to provide lasting protection for this global resource.