Two stories on a key mining case that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Monday that could have an impact on the future prospects of the Pebble Mine.
In what both sides seem to agree is a pivotal case, the U.S. Supreme
Court on Monday will hear oral arguments about whether mining companies
should be allowed to dump their waste into lakes.
At issue is an appeal by the backers of the Kensington mine about 45 miles north of Juneau, in some of the continent's more remote country. The mining company Coeur Alaska, an arm of Idaho-based Coeur, appealed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that would not allow the company to put tailings into Little Slate Lake.
LINK (Via: The Seattle PI)
Nation's waterways at stake with Supreme Court -
The future of America's streams, rivers and lakes is on the agenda of U.S. Supreme Court justices this Monday, Jan. 12, when they hear arguments on whether a pristine Alaskan lake may be killed by operators of Kensington gold mine.
Earthjustice will be reporting from the Supreme Court on Monday, Jan. 12, at their blog unearthed.
Charles C. "Chuck" Hawley is an independent consulting geologist and a board member for Truth About Pebble.
LINK (Via: The Anchorage Daily News)
Rio Tinto, who owns a 20% share of Pebble Mine principle Northern Dynasty, has fallen victim to the sagging commodities market.
Global miner Rio Tinto , saddled with nearly $40 billion in net debt, said it would cut 13 percent of its workforce, slash capital spending by more than half and sell more assets as it battles a collapse in commodity prices.
LINK (Via: Reuters)
Glenn Miller writes that the environmental mess left by Anglo American's Jerritt Canyon gold mine doesn't jive with their Pebble Mine PR spin.
LINK (Via:The Anchorage Daily News)
While the BLM was opening up a million more acres in the Bristol Bay region to resource extraction, the Pebble Partnership CEO admits the Pebble Mine just might not be feasible.
"It is possible this project will not prove economically or otherwise feasible," John Shively told Professor Catherine Knott's Kenai Peninsula College class.
"And after 40 years in Alaska, I don't want to be the one they point to and say, 'I messed up Bristol Bay,'" he said.
LINK (Via:The Homer Tribune)
Robert Glenn Ketchum’s arresting photos and dogged environmental advocacy have helped preserve endangered lands from Arizona to the Adirondacks. In 1998 Audubon ranked him among the 20th century’s most influential environmental advocates. In recent years the California-based photographer has focused his efforts on saving southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
So says the latest bunch of propaganda being spewed by Northern Dynasty.
We downloaded the most recent Pebble presentation off the Northern Dynasty website and converted it to an on-line mag format so you can read the latest spin and pro mine strategy straight from the Pebble Mine corporate overlords. A read of just the first few pages of this fifty four page presentation will make it very clear that the scope of this project and the money involved dwarf the economies of most third world countries. It is going to be a tough fight, know thy enemy.
Flip through the mini viewer for a taste, click the open publication link to view full size.
If you care to download any of their other presentations, most of which are variations on the one above, you can find them here.
Costs have been pushed up by inflation that is affecting all major industrial projects, as well as the increasing complexity of the project. It is $1 billion higher than was estimated last year and about three times the initial estimate made when mining companies began serious work on Pebble.
John Shively, CEO of the Pebble Partnership, the mine development company, told the Alliance that the project also requires a 95-mile road to a new port that would be built on the west side of Cook Inlet. The mine would also need a pipeline to carry a slurry, a mixture of ore and water, from the mine to the port and a second pipeline to return recycled water from the slurry back to the mine for re-use.
A small pipeline may also be needed to ship diesel fuel for mine equipment, he said.
Via: iStock Analyst LINK
The New York Times continues to explore the Sarah Palin Pebble Mine connection.
“I am a commercial fisherman; my daughter’s name is Bristol,” said Ms. Palin, then a candidate for governor. “I could not support a project that risks one resource that we know is a given, and that is the world’s richest spawning grounds, over another resource.”
Many here took her words to heart. But as governor, Ms. Palin has helped ease the way for a proposed copper and gold mine of near-mythic proportions at the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the world’s greatest spawning ground for wild salmon.
"Somebody could argue that this area, somebody should have protected it but they didn't." Pebble Partnership CEO
Via: The Anchorage Daily News LINK
According to the Alaska TV news station KTUU where Palin “appeared occasionally as a television sportscaster,” Palin was so determined to defeat a Clean Water ballot measure this summer that she broke the law to oppose it:
It is against the law for the governor to officially advocate for or against a ballot measure; however, Palin took what she calls "personal privilege" to discuss one of this year's most contentious initiatives.
Via: Firedoglake LINK
Or as we like to say at the family meat plant, politics and sausage, you don't want to know what goes into it.
Measure 4, the ballot initiative primarily designed to stop the Pebble Mine and that just went down to defeat, was funded primarily by a shadowy Republican pro business group called, American's for Job Security.
Source watch's description of American's for Job Security,
Americans for Job Security (AJS) is a Republican "sham front group that would be better called Corporations Influencing Elections ... masquerading as a non-profit to conceal its funders and the scope of its electioneering activities," the Center for Responsive Politics wrote in April 2007. Incorporated October 1997 in Virginia, AJS was described by the Center as "pro-Republican", "pro-business", and "established to directly counter labor's influence".
It is alleged that AJS was founded by Marc F. Racicot "with a $1 million donation" from the American Insurance Association. Racicot headed George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign and is a former Republican National Committee chairman.
The prevailing wisdom is that Bob Gilliam, a prominent conservative, who owns a 10,000 sq. ft. log home 30 miles from the proposed Pebble mine, used his ties to AJS to funnel funds to the pro 4 effort.
Anchorage political consultant Art Hackney, a creative guy who normally sings the praises of right-wing Republicans and pro-development campaigns, is the front man for the pro-initiative effort.
The services of Hackney, who is no greenie, and nearly the entire advertising campaign in support of the initiative are probably being bankrolled by Bob Gillam, the Anchorage financier who opposes the proposed Pebble Mine.
Via: The Newsminer LINK
Sarah Palin, Alaska's Republican Governor and John McCain's V.P. choice, publicly announced her opposition to Measure 4 and helped put the wood to the Measure in the final days of the campaign. As you can see in the image above, the anti Measure 4 forces used Palin in a full page Vote No on 4 ad.
Our polls were showing us ahead until Palin came out, and then they just nose-dived," said Bruce Switzer, a technical adviser to the "Yes" vote campaign.
Via: KTUU LINK
Ballot Measure 4, the anti Pebble Mine measure on the ballot this Tuesday in Alaska has succeeded in one respect, it has fired up the pro-mining propaganda machine in the state and beyond.
Although Prop 4 just applies to the Bristol Bay area, not one word about the Pebble Mine or Bristol Bay is mentioned in the wording of the measure. As a result opponents have been able to mobilize support and funding by portraying Measure 4 as a threat to existing mining operations and the Alaskan economy.
Of course this is not the case.
Are you wanting to know what Ballot Measure #4 is all about, why current regulations don’t adequately protect salmon, how toxic levels would be determined, and who the opponents are? This section has answers to general questions about the initiative itself.
Via: Alaskans for Clean Water LINK
Foreign mining interests have pumped 10 million into the campaign and a new poll shows Ballot Measure 4 might be going down to defeat. LINK
Two major papers in Alaska have endorsed Measure 4.
Put aside the exaggerations.
The truth is that the heart of the initiative is in the right place -- protecting Alaska's salmon fisheries against pollution from new mines.
The legal language in the measure needs fine-tuning. We know that. Voters should approve it, and hand the new law over to the Legislature to clean up the rough edges.
Yes to Ballot Measure 4, to keep big new mines from dirtying salmon streams.
Via The Anchorage Daily News LINK
As Alaskans consider Ballot Measure 4 on Tuesday, they must look to the future and think about gold.
Not the gold that would be removed from Pebble Mine by foreign corporations, Anglo American and Northern Dynasty Minerals, for outsiders' profit, but the aquatic gold found in the precious salmon-rearing watershed of Bristol Bay, the thousands of fishing-related jobs, and the $250 million fishing industry that feeds Alaskans and their families.
Via: The Juneau Empire LINK
"Tiffany and Co. has vowed never to source gold from Pebble should it open," Tiffany and Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Kowalski said after the screening. LINK
A new report challenges the claims of corporate responsibility by Pebble Mine overlords Anglo American.
Rhetoric or Reality? reviews Anglo’s track record regarding environmental protection, worker safety, community impacts, and public health problems at many of its major metal mining operations.
Via: Eye on Pebble Mine LINK
Mining columnist Jack Caldwell offers some advice for any of you considering investing in Anglo American.
Their valid question is "how can you develop this mine without polluting the salmon streams and dooming us to perpetual cleanup and care of the vast waste piles you will leave behind." My opinion is that it has not yet been done successfully elsewhere.
Before investing Jack suggests watching Anglo American's response to the Rhetoric or Reality report.
So to question Anglo Americans past sins or to doubt its current protestations of goodness, is totally irrelevant. As a potential investor, I would advise you to carefully watch Anglo's response to this report. Here are some of their options:
Via: International Business Times LINK
Anglo American who have a 1.4 billion (50%) interest in the Pebble Mine project in Alaska is defending its investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in a platinum mine in Zimbabwe throwing a lifeline of foreign exchange to the corrupt and brutal regime of Robert Mugabe. Anglo American is claiming the mine will ultimately benefit the people of Zimbabwe, sound familiar? LINK
Inside Mugabe's violent crackdown. Via: MSNBC LINK
Anglo American also has a 45% stake in the De Beers diamond
company cartel who have a long track record of market manipulation, and until 1999 were widely believed to be a prominent dealer of conflict diamonds.
You owe it to yourself to check out the Pebblemine Partnership site and see first hand their strategies for beating back opposition to the Pebble Mine. According to Scott Hed of the Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska the Pebble Partnership is peddling the above ad to sporting publications in an attempt to paint themselves as friends of fish and wildlife.
Their pro Pebble You Tube video, embedding is disabled so here's the LINK
In other news:
A major decision will be coming from the Alaska Supreme Court regarding a proposed ballot initiative that mine proponents say will not limit the proposed mine as intended. LINK
Alaska TU Director Tim Bristol puts a plug in for Bristol Bay salmon in this letter to the NY Times.
A group of prominent jewelers including Tiffany & Co., Helzberg Diamonds and Fortunoff will announce today that it opposes the massive gold and copper Pebble Mine planned for Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed, site of the world's largest sockeye salmon run. Via: The LA Times LINK
The press release. Via: Earthworks LINK
NPR reports on a group of Inuit 7th graders who have banded together to fight the Pebble Mine.
But where some see a vital addition to Alaska's economy, others see an unmitigated threat to the environment. Now a group of seventh-graders in nearby Dillingham has banded together as Rebels to the Pebble, a dogged and creative activist corps.
Truth About Pebble is a non-profit citizens organization based in Alaska that supports the Pebble Project. Our diverse membership is composed of groups and individuals who believe that the proposed copper project can be developed in a manner that protects our important fish, game and water resources.
Rio Tinto, one of the world's largest mining companies, has increased its stake in the company exploring Southwest Alaska's Pebble copper and gold prospect.
The London-based company agreed Friday to buy $79 million worth of shares issued by Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., the company that owns the Pebble mining claims.
This increases Rio Tinto's ownership of the Canadian junior mining firm to 19.8 percent, making it the largest individual stakeholder. ia: The Anchorage Daily News LINK
What the news back in January failed to point out is that Rio Tinto's environmental and human rights record is atrocious.
A lawsuit filed against Rio Tinto on behalf of the victims of their mining operation on the island of Bougainville is currently making its way through U.S.courts.
An excerpt from the lawsuit brief-
To build the mine, Rio chemically defoliated, bulldozed and sliced off an entire mountainside of rain forest. During the years of the mine’s operations, billions of tons of toxic mine waste was generated and dumped onto the land and into pristine waters, filling major rivers with tailings, polluting a major bay dozens of miles away, and the Pacific Ocean as well. As a result of its flagrant disregard for the environment and the people of Bougainville, Rio dispossessed the people of Bougainville from their land, destroyed their culture and polluted their environment and lifestyle. Rio destroyed previously pristine rivers and land that provided substance and a way of life for the native people and went to the heart of their local culture. The pollution is so extensive that plaintiffs and members of the class have been improperly exposed to toxic chemicals. In certain villages, the chemicals still remaining have caused the death and/or illness of residents.
You can read the rest of the brief here. VIA: Hagens Berman Sobol Sherman LLP LINK
Rio Tinto could be a poster child for corporate malfeasance. Via: CorpWatch LINK
Some more details about these future stewards of the Bristol Bay region. LINK
Rio Tinto avoids consulting indigenous authority in New Zealand. LINK