Media Tip Sheet

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Scientists complete summer research in proposed Pebble mine area

Fisheries biologist Carol Ann Woody, Ph.D., (Fisheries Research and Consulting) and her team have completed their summer field research documenting salmon-spawning habitat in the watersheds within the proposed Pebble mining zone north of Iliamna. Dr. Woody has conducted numerous fish surveys in the headwaters and streams of the Nushagak and Kvichak River Drainages. (2008 Report) Dozens of salmon-spawning stream segments have been added to the State of Alaska’s Anadromous Water Catalogue as a result of her research (http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/SARR/awc/index.cfm/FA/intro.all) The University of Washington’s Fisheries Research Institute, which has been active in the region for decades, has also complete its summer season.

Watch for upcoming reports on the 2009 data.

APPEAL TO INTERIOR SECRETARY SALAZAR TO PROTECT BRISTOL BAY WATERSHED

A broad coalition of hunters, anglers, guides and outfitters representing millions of Americans have sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking him to reverse a Bush administration plan recommending that some 1.1 million acres of federal land in the Bristol Bay watershed be opened to mineral development. (Press Release)

The nearly 300 signatories are asking Salazar to direct his new Bureau of Land Management chief, Bob Abbey, to protect Bristol Bay’s rich fisheries and wildlife habitat by redoing the 2008 regional management plan for federal lands in the watershed and closing the area to mining.

Anglo American: In Trouble?

Public opinion surveys have consistently shown overwhelming opposition by area residents who depend on the pristine Bristol Bay watershed for commercial, sport and subsistence salmon and wildlife resources. (See Opposition)

A soon-to-be released poll confirms these findings. (Look for release of the polling results in September on ourbristolbay.com)

Strong opposition from local Bristol Bay area residents may soon test whether Anglo American plc, which holds a 50-percent interest in the Pebble Limited Partnership and is working to develop the Pebble Mine, will stand by repeated promises to scrap the project if local residents don’t want it.

In the fall of 2007, Anglo CEO Cynthia Carroll told a Resource Development Council luncheon in Anchorage that, “We do not want to and will not be associated with the development of a mine that damages Alaska’s fisheries and wildlife, or the livelihoods of Alaskan communities. If the mine cannot be planned in a way that provides proper protections, it should not be built.”

In a March 2, 2008 article in the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Sean McGee, spokesman for the Pebble Partnership, said, “We know this (mine) project won't be successful unless we can prove to people it can co-exist with healthy fisheries and wildlife and traditional ways of life.”

According to an October 2008 article on the Fast Company website, Carroll said, "I will not go where people don't want us. I just won't. We've got enough on our plate without having communities against us."

In April 2009 in an article printed in Mining Weekly, Anglo Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart said, “Our bottom line is that, if the project cannot be built in a way that avoids damage to Alaska’s fisheries and wildlife or to the livelihoods of Alaskan communities, it should not be built.”

How good are their words?

A report released in July 2008 by researcher Philip Mattera called “Anglo American’s Track Record: Rhetoric or Reality? suggests strongly that it is not. The report reveals a history of environmental, worker safety, and human rights violations that call into question its stated commitments to mining communities.

Concerns about the corporation’s current financial difficulties could have serious implications for Pebble as well. In the last year, it suspended its annual dividend and laid off thousands of workers. It recently also cut capital expenditures for 2009 by more than half, and has narrowly focused what it is spending on businesses and development expected to perform strongly in the near term and projects already well advanced in development. Pebble does not meet those criteria given its exploration status and significant regulatory and legal hurdles.