Today BusinessWeek posted a welcome story on Anglo American’s withdrawal from the Pebble Partnership with Northern Dynasty. The Pebble Mine proposal threatens Alaska’s Bristol Bay, home to the world’s greatest wild sockeye salmon fishery.
The BusinessWeek story asks Why Miners Walked Away From the Planet's Richest Undeveloped Gold Deposit and partly answers its own question.
The article features a component of the fight against the mine proposal that, relatively speaking, hasn’t gotten much attention: the role of market forces, including potential consumers of the mine’s gold. The market has spoken – and for at least 50 retailers who advocated the protection of the Bristol Bay watershed from mining, the market spoke out strongly against the Pebble mine.
We appreciate the shout-out. But we also want to make it clear that the Bristol Bay Protection pledge and market pressure from the No Dirty Gold campaign are just one part of a broad effort in which dozens of tribes, conservation groups, and business played a part. Credit is due to this diverse coalition of Native Alaskans, commercial and recreational fishermen, chefs, students, and many others.
In the end, after all the sound and fury, we hope that one reason Anglo American withdrew from Pebble is because they promised to do so. In 2008, Anglo American’s then-CEO Cynthia Carroll made a clear promise: “[Anglo] will not go where people don't want us. [We] just won't. We've got enough on our plate without having communities against us.”
80% of the community in the Bristol Bay region opposes the mine. And this, we hope, is in large part why Anglo American walked away from the mine that should never be built.