Now that at an Environmental Protection Agency salvo was reversed and in theory opened the door for the Pebble Mine project to become a reality, the company attempting to establish a copper and gold mine around Bristol Bay is on the move.
On Wednesday, Pebble Partnership announced a new partner, Canadian company First Quantum Minerals Ltd. to join primary mining company Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.
The application is a milestone for the project, which appeared dead during the Obama administration because of environmental concerns but is now moving forward under the administration of President Donald Trump, which fervently supports increased domestic mining and drilling.
The Pebble Limited Partnership said it will submit an application Friday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a wetlands-fill permit, a key authorization required under the U.S. Clean Water Act.
”For the Pebble team, this day has been a long time in the making and is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work,” Tom Collier, chief executive of the Pebble partnership, said in a statement.
The mine, proposed for more than a decade, targets a vast deposit of copper and other minerals but has been opposed by fishermen, environmentalists and most of the native groups in the region, worried about pollution. Opponents see it as a threat to the Bristol Bay region, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon runs, which underpin fisheries, indigenous culture and regional wildlife.
The permit application announcement comes three days after the Pebble Limited Partnership announced that it gained a new member, First Quantum Minerals. For four years, the partnership was limited to one small Canadian company, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. Northern Dynasty’s previous partner, Anglo American, dropped out of the project in 2013.
“Pebble continues to gain positive momentum, and we will have more progress milestones to announce in 2018,” Ron Thiessen, Northern Dynasty’s president, said in a statement Thursday.
Mine opponents on Thursday vowed to continue their fight.
“The truth and justice is on our side,” said Alannah Hurley of the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, a confederation of native organizations. “This project … will devastate our water and fisheries.”
After over a decade of threats, today the Pebble Partnership announced it will apply for permits to build a massive mine in Bristol Bay. Thousands of you have been fighting with us since we first learned about this proposal. Without your help, Pebble would already be digging up Bristol Bay and destroying our wild salmon streams.
But they’re not, thanks to your help.
Today’s news means only one thing: it’s time to get even more serious about defeating Pebble Mine and protecting Bristol Bay.
Pebble has a long road ahead of them before they can actually start mining. They’ll need dozens of permits, more investors, and billions of dollars. With your financial support, we will be there every step of the way to defend Bristol Bay’s thousands of jobs, local cultures and way of life.