Bears and People Vote Against Mine–Foreign Mining Giants Prepare to Ignore Them

Tuesday night, voters in Bristol Bay passed a borough initiative banning any mining project of 640 acres or more that adversely affects salmon streams in the borough.

A brown bear cub from Bristol Bay shadowboxes in preparation for his showdown with foreign mining companies. Photo courtesy of Larry Burke.

The vote was aimed directly at a proposal by two foreign mining companies–Anglo American from the United Kingdom and Northern Dynasty Minerals from Canada–to dig the largest gold and copper mine in North America in Bristol Bay and dump its toxic mining waste into a 10 square mile lake in the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon run in the world.  A run that supports a great range of wildlife, including the bears of Katmai National Park.

As Anglo American and Northern Dynasty (known together as “the Pebble Partnership”) have put together their proposal for the mine, Anglo American President Cynthia Carroll has repeatedly assured Alaskans that “We will not go where communities are against us.”  But the Partnership sued to stop the borough vote even before it took place and has vowed to continue working on the mine despite the vote.  How does that square with Anglo American’s promise?  It doesn’t.

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