New scientific report concludes Anglo American's Pebble Mine is too risky for Bristol Bay, Alaska

07 Feb, 2012, 10:15 ET from Wild Salmon Center

PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The proposed Pebble Mine would siphon as much as 35 billion gallons of fresh water out of the headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska every year, eliminating critical salmon habitat. A new report, "Bristol Bay's Wild Salmon Ecosystems and the Pebble Mine: Key Considerations for a Large-Scale Mine Proposal," concludes the mine is too risky to be developed.

The report examines potential impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine on Bristol Bay's wild salmon fishery – the world's largest wild sockeye salmon run, with up to 40 million fish annually. Produced by the Wild Salmon Center and Trout Unlimited, the report details multiple concerns with excavating Pebble's massive deposit of copper, gold, and molybdenum.

Examining a wide body of scientific information, the report says too much is at stake ecologically, economically, and culturally to risk development. 

"In addition to risks posed by the chronic leaching of contaminants or a catastrophic failure, the proposed mine would substantially alter the region's hydrology and salmon habitat," said Guido Rahr, President of the Wild Salmon Center.

Approval of the mine and its infrastructure will likely spur a much larger mining district, substantially increasing odds that mining will harm Bristol Bay's wild salmon, the report found. Pebble's infrastructure would enable mining claims covering 793 square miles, an area 10 times larger than Washington D.C. The report also presents case studies of mining companies polluting surrounding waters and leaving expensive cleanup costs to American taxpayers.

Preliminary information presented by developers indicates that Pebble Mine:

  • Contains ore with a high likelihood of generating acid mine drainage, which is severely harmful to salmon and other aquatic species;
  • Will produce up to 10.8 billion tons of waste rock, requiring miles of tailings dams which could reach 740 feet high; and
  • Will construct multiple sources of contamination, including an open pit and underground mine, an 86-mile road and pipeline route, and a deep-water port. 

"The Pebble Mine proposal dwarfs all of the existing mines put together in Alaska and would have devastating consequences for salmon, and the wildlife and humans who depend on them," said Lance Trasky, retired Alaska Department of Fish and Game Regional Supervisor.

Full report at

Contact: David Finkel, Wild Salmon Center, 971-255-5568;

SOURCE Wild Salmon Center