London-based mining giant Anglo American, facing mounting criticism of its management of existing mines, has announced that Cynthia Carroll, its chief executive officer for nearly seven years, is stepping down.
The change in top management of the major proponent of development of the Pebble mine in southwest Alaska has prompted questions about the status of that project, but the Pebble Limited Partnership has so far declined comment.
“It’s an Anglo American decision,” John Shively, chief executive officer of the Pebble Limited Partnership in Anchorage, said Oct. 29. “She will stay on until a successor is named. It’s not a Pebble decision,” he said, declining to comment on how her departure might affect development of the mine at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed.
Anglo American is a 50:50 partner in the Pebble Limited Partnership with the Vancouver, British Columbia mining firm Northern Dynasty.
Anglo American is engaged in global ventures, including iron ore, manganese, metallurgical coal and thermal coal, copper, nickel and precious metals and minerals. Mining operations, extensive pipeline of growth projects and exploration activities span southern Africa, South America, Australia, North America, Asia and Europe, company officials said.
Critics of the mine in southwest Alaska said Anglo American should reassess at this point and drop the Pebble mine from its project list.
The change in leadership comes at a time when the company faces decreased stock value and mounting criticism of its management of existing mines, heightening concerns among Alaskans over the company’s involvement at Pebble, said Kim Williams, executive director of Dillingham-based Nunamta Aulukestai, (Caretakers of the Land), an association of Bristol Bay Native village corporations and tribes. “There’s no future for Anglo American or any other mining company at Pebble because the impacts to the fishery are too great,” Williams said. “Our future is the fishery, and the abundance of sustainable jobs it supplies.”
Carroll has promised repeatedly during her visits to Alaska that Anglo American wouldn’t develop the Pebble mine if it didn’t have community support, said Bobby Andrew, a subsistence fisherman and another spokesperson for Nunamta. “We’re left to wonder just who is accountable to the guarantees that Anglo made to Bristol Bay residents.”