An interesting timeline involving two mining multinationals, Rio Tinto and Anglo American, which are currently attempting to pressure the Australian Federal Government into watering down its proposed carbon price mechanism.............
Rio Tinto on joint venture plan to mine in a national park in Alaska, 2007 to 2010:
Rio Tinto has a 19.6 per cent equity holding in Northern Dynasty Minerals which owns a 50 per cent share in the Pebble Joint Venture (Rio Tinto share in Pebble: 9.8 percent). Northern Dynasty Minerals is advancing the Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum deposit in south western Alaska, which includes an ore body amenable to block caving.
The Pebble project is located about 200 miles south west of Anchorage in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska on land designated for mineral exploration and development.
World’s largest undeveloped copper resource….World’s largest gold resource in a porphyry deposit
New York Times reporting on Republican Sarah Palin, 21 October 2008:
Ms. Palin has remained officially neutral, saying that the state will evaluate the project when it receives a formal permit application. But she has embraced resource extraction in ways that are likely to help Pebble. On the presidential campaign trail in coal country this month, she led supporters in chants of “Mine, baby, mine!”
Anglo American’s Pebble Mine Investor Advisory October 2009:
According to mining engineer Jim Kuipers, the Pebble Project, if fully developed, “is likely to involve one of the largest infrastructure undertakings in the history of mining.” Based on current ore projections, the Pebble Project will be the largest copper and gold mine in North America, with an estimated footprint covering 30 square miles of the Bristol Bay watershed…… The Pebble project is opposed by a politically powerful coalition of diverse interests who have the support of a large segment of the Alaskan electorate. The majority of Bristol Bay area residents view large-scale mineral development as an unacceptable risk to the fishery and subsistence. A 2009 survey found that 71% of Bristol Bay residents oppose the Pebble Mine. The Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, a consortium of 231 federally-recognized tribes in Alaska, and many tribal governments of the region, have passed resolutions against the project.
Nunamta Aulukestai et al v. State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Excerpts from Plaintiffs Declarations and Plaintiffs Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (139 pages) 2009 -2010
Anchorage Daily News 13 July 2010:
A state judge has declined to dismiss a court case alleging that state regulators violated the Alaska Constitution when they issued exploration and land-use permits to companies drilling at the Pebble copper and gold prospect in Southwest Alaska…....Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth on Friday dismissed one of the claims in the lawsuit but allowed the others to proceed to trial. He also ruled that the trial will address only the permits at Pebble rather than the validity of the state's permitting system for mineral exploration, in general.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, media release 7 February 2011:
In 2010, nine federally-recognized Bristol Bay tribes petitioned EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay. Their concerns focused on the potential Pebble Mine project. Two other tribes asked EPA to wait for mining projects to submit permit applications before taking action. ……Bristol Bay is an important source of wild Pacific salmon for commercial, recreational, and subsistence users. It produces hundreds of millions of dollars in annual fisheries revenues. The area may be the last major watershed in North America that produces historic numbers of wild salmon. Most of the Bristol Bay watershed is wildlife refuge or park where large development is restricted. EPA’s efforts will focus on those areas that are not protected.
Veteran U.S. actor Robert Redford as a Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, email March 2011:
You should care about Rio Tinto. This British and Australian-based mining giant has a shocking and well-documented record of toxic contamination that spans the globe: from Indonesia to Bolivia to Utah. Now, as one of the major backers of the proposed Pebble Mine, it is threatening to destroy one of our greatest natural treasures: the Bristol Bay wilderness of Alaska. Rio Tinto wants us to believe it has changed its polluting ways. Its chief executive claims they want to have a “net positive effect” on the environment. Talk is cheap. Help us put their words to the test........ We shouldn’t trust any company -- much less a company with Rio Tinto’s dismal record -- to take a catastrophic risk with one of our last and greatest wild places.