Pebble Mine

The proposed port site at Amakdedeori Beach, photo courtesy Erin Mckittrick

“That’s No Pebble”

Alaska is the birthplace of modern packrafting and the heartland of wilderness and wild rivers. Unfortunately Alaska is also in the crosshairs of proposals that would mine, drill, and pollute the wildest places left on earth.

The Bristol Bay region hosts the world’s largest remaining salmon runs that topped 60 million fish in 2018. The mining proposal that goes by the innocuous-sounding name of “Pebble” is more like a giant meteor that will leave a 3-mile wide crater in the middle of Southwest Alaska. It’s the worst possible idea in the worst possible place. This mine would actually “Pollute Every Bristol Bay Lake (and River) for Eternity.”

Like the Arctic Refuge, the Pebble project is on a fast-track, with the Army Corps of Engineers determined to subvert the will of most Alaskans and millions of Americans.  APA will do what we can to jam the gears of this careless and consequential idea. Please read on below from the folks at Save Bristol Bay for the more in depth detail about the Pebble Mine Struggle

Photo Courtesy Erin Mckittrick

The greater Bristol Bay eco-region is one of America’s wildest and most productive landscapes. It serves as the foundation of one of the last remaining salmon-based indigenous cultures and is the source of tens of thousands of renewable resource-based jobs. This Wisconsin sized watershed contains myriad rivers, lakes and streams that serve as the spawning grounds for the world’s largest commercial sockeye salmon fishery as well as an internationally renowned sport fishing resource. The fresh and ocean waters of this region have long been an integral part of Alaska’s economy and have provided sustainable jobs, subsistence foods and other benefits to Alaskans for generations. Adjacent wild lands are habitat for caribou, moose, waterfowl and other important subsistence species as well as one of the world’s greatest concentration of Brown bears.

For the past 15 years, Bristol Bay has also been the setting for one of North America’s most controversial and contentious resource development debates; whether to construct and operate the Pebble gold and copper mine in perhaps North America’s most important wild salmon habitat. By any measure, the proposed Pebble open-pit and underground gold and copper mine would be enormous. The open pit would be three miles across, hemmed in at one end with a 700-foot high dam. Another four miles of earthen impoundments would be built to hold back billions of tons of leftover waste rock. The footprint of the operation, the associated plant, housing and other industrial infrastructure, will swallow up another 28 square miles of tundra. Access to the mine will come via a 60-mile road from Cook Inlet.

This massive mine – which could end up growing to 20 times larger than all the rest of the mines in Alaska combined and could require more power and water than is now consumed by Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city with over 260,000 residents. The mine, and its estimated ten billion tons of leftover waste, is but one of several that could develop above Lake Iliamna. In the past few years, mining companies have staked roughly 1,000 square miles of claims on state-owned lands in the region. The infrastructure created to serve the Pebble mine could enable mining companies to act on these claims.

For the first time in the 15-year history of the Pebble Mine struggle, mine backers have applied for a permit to operate. We expect a fast and flawed process to be administered by the Army Corps. of Engineers. In fact, Corps. staff are telling the public it hopes to have a final Environmental Impact Statement completed by 2020, an incredibly quick turnaround for a project as large, complex and with as much potential negative impact as Pebble. But as has often been in the case with the Pebble saga, when the situation seems most dire, the unexpected happens. In mid-May, the latest major backer of the Pebble Limited Partnership, First Quantum Minerals, decided to terminate its relationship with PLP rather than make the expected major investment in the mine’s development. As a result, PLP is left without a major investor yet again.  Please join us in supporting the Pebble Mine fight with the folks at Save Bristol Bay.

Contact Us

American Packrafting Association

PO Box 13
Wilson, WY 83014