Mine proposal draws hundreds at Alaska hearing

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hundreds of people turned out in Anchorage to comment on a proposal that would severely restrict development of a massive gold-and-copper mine in the Bristol Bay region.
 
The proposal, made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month, effectively would bar the type of project the mine’s owner, Northern Dynasty Minerals, has discussed.
 
The agency is hosting public meetings in Alaska this week, though written comments can be submitted through Sept. 19.
 
People on both sides of the issue testified about their love of salmon during Tuesday’s hearing, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.
 
But mine opponents said the project, near the headwaters of a world-premier sockeye salmon fishery, posed too great a threat. Some pointed to the partial failure of a tailings dam in British Columbia that sent contaminated slurry into a lake.
 
Others said the project should be allowed to move through the permitting phase before action is taken that could curtail development.
 
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