December 3, 2013
As the 100 percent owner of the proposed Pebble Mine in the Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska -- after British mining giant Anglo American walked away from the project in September -- the Canadian corporation Northern Dynasty Minerals is beating the bushes for a new "money partner." On Thanksgiving, its CEO Ron Thiessen published an op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News, promising remarkable things if Pebble is built, like thousands of jobs, $100,000-a-year salaries for mine workers, and vast sums added to the state economy.
Notably, Mr. Thiessen begins his plea for investors with the famous quotation from Mark Twain about his death being "an exaggeration." In the case of Pebble Mine, perhaps a more apt Mark Twain quote would have been his definition of a mine -- that is, "a hole in the ground owned by liars."
As Anglo American figured out (along with Mitsubishi Corporation when it withdrew in 2010), the Pebble Mine is unlikely to be built any time soon. That's because opposition to this uniquely reckless project is deep and wide-ranging, consistently polling at over 80 percent opposition in the Bristol Bay region and 60 percent opposition state wide. One of the reasons is that, according to EPA's comprehensive Watershed Assessment, Pebble will have devastating (even catastrophic) impacts on the region and the Bristol Bay wild salmon fishery, the greatest of its kind in the world.