Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Anglo American’

EPA chief hears mine opponents at Bristol Bay meeting

By MARGARET BAUMAN
Dutch Harbor Fisherman via The Associated Press

Published: August 4th, 2010 03:59 PM
Last Modified: August 4th, 2010 09:50 PM

DILLINGHAM — One by one, representatives of a dozen Southwest Alaska communities stood to tell the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the threat they feel the massive Pebble mine prospect would pose to their way of life.

“If you take away who we are, our natural resources, that would be terminating us as a people,” Mary Ann Johnson from the tribal council of Portage Creek told EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson last week, during a listening session at Dillingham High School.

“The salmon have saved people from starvation,” said Dennis Andrew, of the village of New Stuyahok, noting the importance of the Bristol Bay watershed’s abundance to both people and wildlife. “It is so important that they continue to spawn in our waters.”

The event, billed by EPA as a listening session on the massive copper, gold, silver and molybdenum deposit that could be mined at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed, attracted only opponents.

Supporters, including representatives of Iliamna Development Corp., who say the prospect poses a tremendous opportunity for economic development, were not in attendance.

Jackson had met earlier in Anchorage with representatives of the Pebble Limited Partnership, which has said it will invest up to $73 million in Alaska this year as part of its ongoing effort to advance the project. According to the Pebble Partnership, the mine prospect has one of the largest concentrations of copper, gold, molybdenum and silver in the world.

Those speaking to the EPA at the listening session spoke of other riches. They are the sons and daughters of Eskimo families who have inhabited this region for thousands of years, engaging in a subsistence lifestyle dependent upon the fish and sea mammals in the waters of Bristol Bay and a land bountiful in wildlife and berries.

“We lead a very rich lifestyle in a resource-rich area,” said Tom Tilden, first chief of the Curyung Tribal Council in Dillingham. “We can continue to live in this area as long as the resources are protected.”

“Bristol Bay is a national treasure that we must protect,” said Robin Samuelsen, president and chief executive officer of Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. “Bristol Bay is one of those rare areas where we should not mine.”

“We believe,” said Kimberly Williams, executive director of Nunamta Aulukestai, Caretakers of the Land, “that our life is just so worth protecting. We are not going to go away; we’re going to keep fighting” (to protect the Bristol Bay watershed).

Jackson, who holds a master’s in chemical engineering from Princeton University, opened the meeting with greetings from President Barack Obama. She told the group that Obama wants his administration to talk with tribes on a government-to-government basis.

She also told several dozen people gathered in the high school gymnasium “that there is no such thing as a choice between a job and clean water. You are entitled to both.”

Jackson, who grew up in coastal Louisiana, said life there was tough “but I will take my hat off to the people who make their living here,” a reference to the challenges of living in rural Alaska and the subsistence lifestyle.

The speakers’ list ranged from Jason Metrokin, president and chief executive officer of the Bristol Bay Native Corp., to Bella Hammond of Lake Clark, widow of former Gov. Jay Hammond, who received a standing ovation.

Others included former Alaska Senate President Rick Halford, a technical advisor to Nunamta Aulukestai and Trout Unlimited; Dillingham city planner Jody Seitz, and Anchorage attorney Jeff Parker, representing the community of Nondalton.

Major concerns voiced were the importance of maintaining pollution-free waters critical to subsistence and the Yup’ik Eskimo culture, as well as the multi-million dollar commercial and sport fishing industry.

Some focused on potential activities at the proposed mine that they believe could forever contaminate the watershed critical to all life in the region. Others contended that activities during the prospect’s exploration phase are damaging king salmon runs and causing many animals in the Mulchatna caribou herd to migrate elsewhere.

“Moose and caribou are an important part of our diet,” said Peter Christopher of New Stuyahok. Exploration activities at the mine site have scared off 75 percent of the Mulchatna herd, he said.

“The mine could affect the Nushagak, which is our aquifer,” Seitz said.

The city of Dillingham opposes Pebble, she said. “Fisheries are a critical piece of the economy.”

Many speakers also addressed a need for a closer relationship between the federal and tribal governments, and said the state does not support the tribes.

The listening session was preceded by a potluck luncheon featuring a number of popular area foods, including moose, salmon, duck, muktuk and fried bread, plus salads and large bowls of akutaq – Eskimo ice cream – filled with berries abundant in the region.

Read more: http://www.adn.com/2010/08/04/1395461/epa-chief-hears-mine-opponents.html#ixzz0vi4wfFF5

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

 
 
 

Fort Knox tailings dam

‘Polluted water spilled at Fort Knox Gold Mine’

Associated Press – May 7, 2010 12:54 PM ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A 2-acre area at the Fort Knox Gold Mine near Fairbanks is being dug up to remove pollution from a spill of water contaminated with a low concentration of cyanide.

The Department of Environmental Conservation told KTUU that most of the 300,000-gallon spill Wednesday was contained within a building. But, about 35,000 gallons flowed onto a gravel road and parking lot within the site.

The ‘what ifs’ of a similar spill occuring if Pebble Mine is approved would be catastrophic. Even tiny amounts of cyanide leaking into the saturated ground of Pebble would eventually find its way to the headwaters of fertile salmon spawning waters.

Keep in mind, Pebble will mine for gold as well as copper and molybdenum. One of the processes that will most likely be used to extract the ore from fine-ore bearing rocks will be to use xanthate floatation. This method of hard rock mining produces metal concentrates and billions of tons of waste rock based on Pebble’s projected size estimate. The waste rock has a label called PAG or potentially acid generating material. The PAG has the guaranteed effect of generating acid sulfides (i.e., sulfuric acid) when exposed to oxygen.

The processing chemicals of xanthates and *cyanide (*if cyanide extraction is used for removing gold from ore bearing rock as in Fort Knox’s processing method) and other metallic acid sulfide will be present in the billions of tons of tailings waste and would need to be ‘contained’ behind huge man-made earthen dams. The dams will need to be maintained from failure and the waste rock will need to be immersed under water forever. If the waste rock is exposed to air, the abundant oxygen levels will speed up the acidification process.

All of the above information about waste-rock tailings is just one potential scenario the Pebble Partnership may employ. Most of the higher quality ore-bearing rock is located deep within in an area labeled Pebble East. The most likely method for ore extraction in deep underground mines are by way of block caving. In this type of mining, ore-bearing rock is removed via an underground caving method on an industrial scale. In block caving, the method after ore-bearing rock is extracted is to induce collapse. The after-effect of the collapsing ground from above is an inevitable entry of water and oxygen which then is exposed to the waste rock thereby leading to acid sulfide decomposition on a grand scale. What results are high levels of acid sulfide deep underground with the high probability of mixing with and contaminating groundwater.

We cannot put our faith in foreign-owned corporations to protect our entire Bristol Bay region. One look at the BP oil rig explosion and subsequent ongoing massive oil spill is a testament to how even an established foreign-owned corporation doing business in North America is prone to a major failure of epic proportions.

There is no reason to justify cataclysmic risk for such an isolated, momentary reward.

 

FORT KNOX vs PEBBLE MINE 1

TARGET METALS

FORT KNOX – Gold Mine

PEBBLE MINE – Copper Mine w/ Gold and Molybdenum

 

PRODUCTION RATE

FORT KNOX – 36,000 – 50,000 tons/day

PEBBLE MINE – 100,000 – 200,000 tons/day

 

TAILINGS

FORT KNOX  – 200 million tons

PEBBLE MINE – 2.5 billion tons

 

WATER USAGE

FORT KNOX  – 4.9 cfs2

PEBBLE MINE – 114 cfs3

 

PROCESSING

FORT KNOX  – Cyanide Vat Leach

PEBBLE MINE – Xanthate Floatation

 

POTENTIALLY ACID GENERATING WASTE

FORT KNOX  – No

PEBBLE MINE – Yes

1This Fact Sheet was prepared by David Chambers, Center for Science in Public Participation, Feb 2007. It reflects information published by Kinross Gold (Fort Knox) and Northern Dynasty Mines (Pebble) from 2004 -2006.

Other articles:

‘Waste Disposal at the Pebble Mine’

http://www.ourbristolbay.com/waste-disposal.html

Read Full Post »

UPDATED: from Midcurrent…

Former Alaska First Lady Part of New Pebble Mine Suit

By Marshall Cutchin

The big news out of Alaska yesterday afternoon was that former Alaska First Lady Bella Hammond has filed suit, along with native Alaskan representatives and other individuals, against the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. They say the DNR has repeatedly violated the state constitution by allowing mining exploration without regard for the public interest and without required oversight. “‘DNR has neglected its legal and moral obligation to protect Bristol Bay’s subsistence resources,’ said Bobby Andrew, spokesman for Nunamta Aulukestai, a lead plaintiff. ‘Current exploration is having a serious impact on water and wildlife, yet the agency continues to rubber stamp permits and ignore the public interest.'”

Read the entire story at Midcurrent: http://www.midcurrent.com/news/2009/07/former-alaska-first-lady-part.html

Posted on Moldy Chum’s site: Bristol Bay Native Leaders to Hold Press Briefing

Alaska Native leaders from the Bristol Bay region will hold a press event, which will be available by teleconference, in Anchorage this Wednesday to announce a significant new development in the long-running controversy over exploration and development of the Pebble mine project.

WHO:
· Bobby Andrew, board member of Nunamta Aulukestai (Caretakers of our Lands)
· Jack Hobson, Nondalton resident
· Other speakers (TBA)

WHEN:
Press Conference and Telephone Briefing
Wednesday, July 29, 2009,
10 AM Alaska Time

WHERE:
In-Person
:
Marriot Hotel at H and 7th Streets
Skagway Valdez Room
Anchorage, Alaska
Parking available at Municipal Garage

By Telephone:
Call-in number: 800-311-9402
Passcode: 5729

VISUALS:
In addition to the speakers, there will be maps and photos ready for download

CONTACT:
Harlin Savage, Resource Media, (720) 564-05500, ext. 11, harlin@resource-media.org
Lynda Giguere, Resource Media-Alaska (907) 771-4020, lynda@resource-media.org

Read Full Post »

Gone Fishin' | Photo: www.alaskaseafood.org

Gone Fishin' | Photo: http://www.alaskaseafood.org

In a world full of leaders with massive, blinding egos, ours takes the cake. To say that Sarah Palin is inconsistent is like saying Michael Jackson is not getting enough press coverage. Just days after announcing her ‘official’ premature extraction from Alaska’s highest office, Sarah Palin is now fishing in Bristol Bay. Yes, the very same Bristol Bay in which she is in favor of exploiting for mineral wealth via the Pebble Mine.

Her support of Anglo and Northern Dynasty Minerals is now common knowledge (see: https://tspey.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/down-but-not-out/) made more evident by the fact that the Palin family has taken gifts and paid trips from pro-Pebble Mine suppporters (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/25/AR2008092503988_pf.html).

In an age when one’s actions speak louder than their lies even steadfast supporters of Palin are now smacking into the broken glass-lined wall of reality. Yes, we have been hoodwinked into thinking that this person was much more than what she really is.

Alaskan politics of late has been marred with corruption. Speculation abounds that Palin’s decision may be a pre-emptive action against this nasty ‘c’ word. Alaskans have been forcefully spoon-fed this type of mush for too long. The time has passed for personal-gain politicos who have worn out their welcome.

The decision to quit makes no sense politically. What is the real reason for Palin’s fall? Family? Tired of the spotlight? Greed? So far up in Alaska, the latter is the speculative and all too common assumption.

Read Full Post »

 IMG_0271 small

The re-opener was an epic display of old-time Alaska. Thousands of black-gray backs of schooled salmon in packs of 30 to 50 as far as the next bend. Fortunately, there were still trout to be had via the properly waked dry in-between the intermittent upstream rushes of first run sockeye.

IMG_0286_edited sm

The salmon run is the earliest and by far the biggest in my 20+ years on the river. The run’s strength was revealed during our trouting below the falls. At our favorite hole normally filled with hungry rainbow was a wall of sockeye. The holes were filled with fins. Even the swift water was packed with salmon raising their heads to get a view of the strange gore-tex-clad visitors. 

IMG_0277

As the day neared noon, D and I looked at each other from across the river as we simultaneously said ‘let’s get our limit’. Fred already made the switch 30 minutes sooner and was quickly on salmon after salmon. With 3 being the magic number, our plan was to quickly catch, clean and pack the fish then re-focus our sights to trout (easier said than done). This year’s sockeye are also much bigger in size than normal. Couple that with trout rods and you have a recipe for split graphite disaster.

The catching was the easy part. One cast = one fish. Landing them was another story altogether. On the 3rd and final sock, an unexpected last run and tangled-rod-to-tree nearly ended my day prematurely. Fortunately, the rod was intact. With the sounds of my buddies’ stream-muffled laughter reaching my ears as I kneeled looking at the securely tailed salmon, I knew I was lucky. Just one more second and that rod was broke.

The harvest

The harvest

The trip was as close to the old days as one could imagine. Seeing that many salmon in one small stream during a time when we are facing a threat of open pit mining in an area with an exponentially larger annual run of wild salmon puts everything in perspective. There is something much more to be had in a continuously healthy river than in a gold chain.

Trees from trees

Trees growing from trees

 IMG_0288 small

1:1,000,000

1:1,000,000

Read Full Post »

rrc-logo                       no-pebble

Town Hall Meetings

From RRC’s website: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! The Renewable Resources Coalition wants to hear your thoughts on how we can protect Bristol Bay and the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery. We’re holding open town hall meetings in Anchorage with more to follow soon. You’ll have the chance to share ideas and talk with your neighbors. Shannyn Moore and Anders Gustafson will host the discussion. We want your ideas! Spread the word – because protecting Bristol Bay is good business.

March 17th, 2009
University of Alaska, Anchorage
Rasmussen Hall, Room 110
TIME: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

March 19th, 2009
Tanglewood Chalet
11801 Brayton Dr., South Anchorage
TIME: 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Read Full Post »

The presidential campaign to this point has been a long, tough battle between two major parties. With less than 60 days left to tack on more bruises and fractures from both sides of the aisle let’s take a step back. Take a much needed deep breath.

The media’s obsession on vetting an unknown VP candidate is spreading into an all out blizzard. The world has zeroed in on a tiny strip mall town in Alaska. The blogosphere has turned its voracious appetite on the tasty bits that are immediately spread to the masses. The beauty of such real time tracking is its speed and breadth. The danger is when an unsubstantiated allegation goes viral and tarnishes a target unfairly. It is important to view both sides of an issue with as open a mind as possible. This is easier said than done.

Imagine yourself as a candidate or of a family member and one begins to see things differently. Sure, you can say that they are fair game because of their choice to run for such a high stakes office. But every person deserves a fair examination. One might argue that the unknown GOP VP pick is making it impossible to get to know her. Other than a couple of short public appearances and one major speech viewed by over 40 million or so Americans, most non-Alaskans know nothing about her.

In many people’s view, a person, particularly a public servant, is defined by their past, by their friends, by their family and by their actions. Please read the links below with an open mind, a grain of salt and decide for yourself:

Past:

A Letter About Sarah Palin from Anne Kilkenny…

http://community.adn.com/adn/node/130537

Palin pressured Wasilla librarian…

http://www.adn.com/sarah-palin/story/515512.html

Troopergate…

Todd Palin subpoenaed in firing probe

http://www.newsweek.com/id/158140

http://www.adn.com/monegan/story/517072.html

http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/516746.html

http://www.adn.com/troopergate/story/515508.html

Former political ally: Lyda Green

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2008/09/15/080915ta_talk_lizza

Good friend: Bob Lester

http://www.adn.com/opinion/comment/story/295464.html

Family:

http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/512560.html

http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/516787.html

http://frontiersman.com/articles/2005/12/06/news/news2.txt

Policy:

As Wasilla Mayor…

Palin got zoning aid, gifts in Wasilla

Sarah Palin’s record on environment is abysmal…

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/377955_palinenvir07.html

http://firedoglake.com/2008/08/29/sarah-palin-maverick-for-mining-interests/

https://tspey.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/down-but-not-out/

https://tspey.wordpress.com/2008/08/25/troubling-news/

Experience…. or lack thereof…

http://thebruceblog.wordpress.com/2008/09/06/video-jon-stewart-nails-palin-with-rove-and-oreilly-talking-points-hysterical/

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »