Stakeholders in Alaska’s salmon fisheries, including the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, were in London for the annual general meeting of a major Pebble prospect developer and also to meet privately with two mining giants.
Bob Waldrop, director of the BBRSDA, said the talks with Anglo American PLC, of London, a partner in the mine with Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. of British Columbia, was of enormous importance because of the frank private discussions they had.
Waldrop was accompanied by leaders of the Bristol Bay Native Corp. and Nunamta Aulukestai (Caretakers of the Land), which represents nine Alaska Native villages in the Bristol Bay opposed to the mine. The group also met privately with executives from Rio Tinto, a London-based mining giant that is a minority shareholder in both Anglo American and Northern Dynasty.
The Alaskans also attended the annual general meeting of Rio Tinto, where Tom Albanese, that company’s chief executive officer, told shareholders his company has no interest in seeing the Pebble prospect developed as an open pit mine, because of questions about environmental impact.
“I’m interested in looking at it from an underground perspective,” Albanese told shareholders. I have no interest in looking at it from an over ground perspective. An open pit mine is not the way to go… in my opinion.”
Waldrop said that to a person, those whom the Alaskans met with from Anglo American “were very tolerant of our dissent to their investment in the Pebble prospect, but I don’t believe we changed anybody’s mind.”
Alaska groups opposed to development of the mine, out of concern for potential adverse affects on the region’s renown wild salmon runs, have been joined in their protest by an increasing number of businesses and organizations, most recently a contingent of national sport anglers and hunters who converged on Washington D.C. earlier this month to meet with members of the Obama Administration and Congress.
The Pebble Partnership has maintained that the mine can be developed and operated in harmony with the fisheries.