Pebble Mine

Pebble Mine

Pebble Mine proposed footprint and other threats from mining to the Bristol Bay watershed. Click on the image to view it in detail.  (Source: Trout Unlimited)

If built, the Pebble Mine would be North America’s largest gold and copper mine.  It is also the largest gold deposit in the world. The project is located on Alaska state land in Southwest Alaska, near Lake Iliamna and Lake Clark. This proposal has been very controversial in Alaska in large part because the mine would sit in the headwaters of some of the most productive salmon rivers in the world. This project is being undertaken by the Pebble Limited Partnership, owned by Northern Dynasty Minerals and Anglo American. While this proposal is still in the planning and pre-permitting stages, the general outline of the plan consists of a large open pit mine, a similarly large underground mine, and the impoundment of billions of tons of mining waste behind several earthen dams.

Drill Rig at the Pebble Mine prospect. (Source: Ground Truth Trekking)

Proponents argue that the mine will create jobs in the region and tax revenue for the state of Alaska, and that it is impossible to oppose a project before final plans are drawn up. Opponents argue that the mine would negatively impact the entire Bristol Bay watershed regardless of design details, and create an unacceptable risk to fisheries downstream forever.  The mine has the potential for multiple environmental issues including acid mine drainage, waste storage in perpetuity, and use of cyanide for gold extraction.

Further Reading

(Content derived from Ground Truth Trekking)

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