Alannah Hurley, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, 843-1633 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, December 18, 2017
Announcement of New Investor Does Not Change Facts About the Pebble Project:
Regional Leadership Remains United in Opposition to Mining at Bristol Bay’s Headwaters
DILLINGHAM, AK — Today, Northern Dynasty Minerals announced it has potentially secured a new investment partner, First Quantum Minerals, for its proposed Pebble project in Southwest Alaska. Canada-based Northern Dynasty had been searching for new investors since 2014, when mining giants Rio Tinto and Anglo American abandoned the project, taking combined losses of more than $300 million. Under the agreement released today, First Quantum Minerals will provide Northern Dynasty with the cash needed immediately to continue the project, and will have the option to buy a 50 percent interest in the Pebble Limited Partnership over the next four years. Bristol Bay businesses, anglers, commercial fishermen, native corporations, tribes, and residents remain uniformly opposed to the Pebble Mine.
The announcement comes on the heels of a record-breaking sockeye run in Bristol Bay. Nearly 60 million salmon returned to Bristol Bay this summer, representing another banner year for the world-class subsistence, sport, and commercial fisheries of the region. The Pebble deposit is located at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed, home to the two greatest wild sockeye salmon producing rivers on the planet—the Nushagak and the Kvichak. Despite the looming threat of Pebble, the fishery continues to support thousands of jobs each year, contributes over a billion dollars to the American economy annually, and sustains the subsistence way of life for the region’s indigenous peoples.
Bristol Bay leadership and supporters released the following statements.
Bristol Bay Native Association President and CEO Ralph Andersen:
“The decision to oppose the Pebble Project was not one our region took lightly. After the extensive studies demonstrating the devastation this type of mine could bring, and listening to the will of the people, the region remains committed to protecting our vital subsistence way of life. The EPA and other agencies have studied our region extensively and the conclusion is clear: Bristol Bay’s wild salmon fisheries warrant special protections. It is disappointing that another mining company would join Northern Dynasty in its ongoing effort to fight scientific fact and the will of Bristol Bay’s people.”
Representative Bryce Edgmon:
“An overwhelming majority of Bristol Bay residents—fearful of the threat large-scale mining poses to their livelihoods and their way of life—are strongly against the Pebble project. As their representative in the State House, it is my clear responsibility to oppose development of the proposed Pebble Mine and the unacceptable risks it presents for the Bristol Bay watershed and many communities I serve. A new investor in Northern Dynasty’s venture does nothing to change that.”
United Tribes of Bristol Bay Executive Director Alannah Hurley:
“Today’s announcement doesn’t change a whole lot for the people of Bristol Bay. Over the years, we’ve heard nearly identical announcements from Mitsubishi, Anglo American, and Rio Tinto—all of whom have since abandoned this toxic project. These past partners left the project for a very good reason: Northern Dynasty is trying to build the wrong mine, in the wrong place. Regardless of how large they want to build it, Northern Dynasty cannot change the fact the Pebble deposit sits in the very heart of Bristol Bay watershed. It cannot be built without devastating salmon and all they sustain in Bristol Bay.”
Bristol Bay Native Corporation CEO Jason Metrokin:
“Nothing about the proposed Pebble mine has changed. It is still the wrong mine in the wrong place and is opposed by a large majority of Bristol Bay residents. Let it be known to any new investor that our opposition remains committed to protecting Bristol Bay from the risks the mine poses to the region and its people.”
Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation CEO Norm Van Vactor:
“Bristol Bay’s record-breaking salmon run this summer is a testament to the health and bounty of this world-class fishery. Even after one hundred years, this commercial fishery is the economic backbone of the region and a literal “food-factory” for the world. And it will continue to provide for generations to come, so long as it is protected. First Quantum Minerals is wasting their time investing in a project that has little to no local support and no legitimate claim to economic feasibility. At the end of the day, the Pebble Mine threatens our fishery and all it supports, and that is just a risk Bristol Bay is not willing to take.”
Bristol Bay Native Association is the regional nonprofit tribal service provider providing social, economic, and educational opportunities to tribal members.
The United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB) is a tribal consortium representing 15 Bristol Bay tribal governments (that represent over 80 percent of the region’s total population) working to protect the Yup’ik, Denai’na, and Alutiiq way of life in Bristol Bay.
Bristol Bay Native Corporation is a responsible Alaska Native investment corporation dedicated to the mission of “Enriching Our Native Way of Life.” Established through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, BBNC works to protect the land in Bristol Bay, celebrate the legacy of its people, and enhance the lives of its shareholders.
The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation exists to promote economic growth and opportunities for Bristol Bay residents through sustainable use of the Bering Sea fisheries.