Morgan Stanley Drops Pebble Mine Shares

The global investment banking firm, Morgan Stanley, has dropped 99% of its shareholdings in Northern Dynasty, the Canadian company behind the proposed Pebble Mine—a massive copper and gold mine that threatens the world’s largest wild salmon fishery at the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

The decision makes good sense for a bank that prides itself on its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible investing. The Pebble Mine is broadly opposed by Bristol Bay leaders (and just about everybody else, from local residents and fishermen to jewelers and restauranteurs). And it is widely condemned for the severe and lasting harm it will cause to Bristol Bay waters, including the predicted permanent destruction of over 100 miles of rivers and streams and indirect harm to another 80 miles of streams from fugitive dust, dewatering and fragmentation of habitat—all at the heart of the largest and most productive wild salmon fishery on Earth. The fishery is the economic engine for the region, generating 14,000 jobs, producing $1.5 billion in annual economic output and providing the world with a healthy, sustainable source of food.

Last month, leaders from the Bristol Bay region, along with Earthworks and the Natural Resources Defense Council, held a video conference with senior executives from Morgan Stanley to convey the depth and breadth of the opposition and express appreciation for the decline in shares.

Northern Dynasty continues to struggle to raise the money necessary to proceed through the permitting process, stating that without a partner it will have to sell off more of its stock.

The troubled Pebble Mine also faces a barrier to its transportation plans. Last month, Northern Dynasty abruptly announced that the company was shifting its transportation route to the northern route – an 82-mile proposed road along Lake Iliamna. Yet Alaska Native landowners have repeatedly informed the company that access to their surface and subsurface lands along this route will not be granted.

Earthworks is proud to stand in support of the Alaska Native leaders in Bristol Bay and their efforts to protect our nation’s greatest wild salmon fishery from the proposed Pebble Mine. The Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery is a phenomenal natural resource that will continue to power the economy and the feed the world as long as the clean water and intact habitat of the Bristol Bay watershed is protected.


Banner photo: Bristol Bay, Credit: Emma Forsberg via Wikimedia Commons