Friday, October 22, 2010

Stop Open Pit Mine in Alaska

Bristol Bay
Right click on map to open a new window or tab with a larger map.

The latest outrage is a proposal by foreign investors to dig an open-pit gold and copper mine, two thousand feet deep and two miles long, in the watershed of Bristol Bay, Alaska.

However, the companies are taking precautions in the form of 50-story earthen dams. These dams will be tasked with holding back nine million tons of waste, polluted with cyanide, sulfuric acid, arsenic and other toxins--FOREVER. Uh-oh. The area lies in an active Earthquake Zone.

If the dams fail, the damage to the ecosystem would be catastrophic. The area waterways run with the world's largest sockeye salmon. These salmon are an integral part of the ecosystem that includes bears, whales, seals and eagles and a large population of Alaskan Natives who make their living fishing, hunting and guiding tourists.

Natives fear removal of the water from the headwaters of Upper Talarik Creek and the Koktuli River, will damage important fish habitats. The site sits at the headwaters of two major drainages that empty into Bristol Bay (Nushagak and Kvichak), and potentially poses a large threat to the region's water and salmon. This proposal has become a major political issue in Alaska, pitting pro-mining forces against local native villages and commercial and sport fishermen.

100% of mines with similar characteristics to Pebble
have contaminated nearby waters.

Lake Iliamna
Closest Lake to Mine Site
Most Likely to be Polluted

The struggle to keep this area pristine has been going on for years. You may read of this neverending battle on the Pebble Mine website or view a wonderful photograph survey on the AK Treking website,

However, recently, National Resource Council (NRDC), has become involved. The companies behind the mine are BIGGIES: Britain's Anglo American and Rio Tinto, Canadian Northern Dynasty Minerals and Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation.

Don't Get Fooled Again!

Take Action

The following message, urging Americans to tell mining giant Anglo American to abandon its plans for digging the disastrous Pebble Mine in Alaska's wildlife Eden of Bristol Bay, was sent by

Dear Friend,

Last spring we ratcheted up the pressure on Anglo American and its disastrous plan to build a mega-mine in Alaska's pristine Bristol Bay watershed.

We presented a Petition -- signed by 100,000 concerned Americans -- at Anglo's Shareholder's Meeting on Earth Day!

But in the wake of the Gulf oil spill disaster, we need to do more. It's time to tell Anglo American we're not buying its promises of environmental responsibility. BP made plenty of promises, too. Then it proved that corporate claims ring hollow and worst-case scenarios do happen.

Tell Anglo American you don't want another corporate giant gambling with the future of a priceless ecosystem.
<-Take Action

Oil, gas and mining companies like to say: Trust us.

Anglo American is promising plenty of studies and environmental impact statements. They will claim that a massive release of mining waste is a 'worst case scenario' that will never happen.

They will claim that Bristol Bay - the world's largest salmon fishery and home to abundant bears, moose and caribou - is in no danger from the colossal Pebble Mine.

How gullible do they think we are?

Every large copper and gold mine on Earth has suffered spills and other disasters, including acid runoff and mercury contamination.

Anglo American's own plans say that the Pebble Mine will spew some 10 billion tons of mining waste, laced with toxic chemicals, that must be stored behind massive earthen dams FOREVER in an active earthquake zone.

Nothing lasts forever. The only question is, when will those dams fail?

The wildlife, fishermen and Native communities of Bristol Bay cannot afford to find out the answer, because they stand to pay the ultimate price in a devastated ecosystem.

Please stand in solidarity with them by telling Anglo American you won't let them roll the dice with Bristol Bay. <-Take Action Polluters like to think our attention spans are short. They believe they can wait until "the storm blows over," and then go back to business as usual.

Let them know they're wrong. Tell Anglo that, after the Gulf spill, you're not buying any more corporate promises.


Peter Lehner
NRDC Executive Director

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