Bristol Bay Salmon Fishery Faces Development of Gold and Copper Mine

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Bristol Bay salmon fishing

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The world’s most productive salmon fishery in Alaska’s Bristol Bay is receiving support from the Natural Resources Defence Council in the United States, to save the fishery from the possible development of a large gold and copper mine.

The Pebble Mine in Southwest Alaska is a copper-gold-molybdenum deposit equally owned by Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., based in Vancouver Canada, and Anglo American PLC based in London, UK.

“There are few hum activities as toxic as large-scale mining” an official with NRDC said in statement last week. “The Pebble Mine project could lead to widespread water contamination, which would destroy the salmon runs of the Bristol Bay watershed, and thereby devastate the native communities and abundant wildlife the salmon have supported for thousands of years”.

Located at the most eastern arm of the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay is home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery as well as strong runs of chum salmon, silver salmon and king salmon.

The project calls for three of the tallest dams in the world to be constructed to hold up as much as 9.1 billion toxic mining discharge including cyanide, sulphuric acid, arsenic, selenium and other toxic substances over a 10 square mile region.

In the past NRDC has had success forcing Mitsubishi and the Mexican government to cancel plans to build a massive industrial salt plant on a lagoon in Southern Baja California. A region that is a critical breeding area for the Pacific gray whale, and persuaded the Timber Products Company in Alaska to drop plans for a veneer mill that would have threatened the Tongass National Forest.

  • Mark Spowart

    A writer and photographer, Spowart has publication credits in Canada, United States, Europe and Norway with such publications as The Globe & Mail, The National Post, Sun Media, Canwest News, and Canada News Wire.

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