The EPA has proposed limiting development of the Pebble Mine project to protect the salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska, in a move supported by commercial fishermen, investors and jewelers alike.
The development of this gold, copper and molybdenum mine, which is backed by Northern Dynasty Minerals and the Pebble Limited Partnership, would be one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world.
In April, Rio Tinto said it will divest its 19 percent stake in Pebble Mine and donates its shares to two Alaska charities.
Bristol Bay supports commercial, subsistence and recreational fisheries worth hundreds of millions in economic yield each year. It is the largest and most productive wild salmon fishery in the world, supplying half of the world’s supply of wild sockeye salmon and generating more than $450 million in annual revenue.
Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and CEO of Tiffany & Co., applauded the EPA proposal, despite being a business that depends on precious metals and mining. “We have nevertheless long opposed the development of new mines that threaten areas of high ecological and cultural value,” he said.
In addition to Tiffany, more than 100 jewelry companies have announced support for protecting Bristol Bay, including Zale and Helzberg Diamonds.
Restaurants, supermarkets and chefs also sent a letter to the EPA asking the agency to protect the salmon fishery.