On April 2, 2018, some 50 fishing and hunting businesses and organizations–led by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Orvis, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership–sent a letter to First Quantum Minerals, urging the company to withdraw its financial support of the Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Last Friday, the company “terminated” its proposed framework agreement with Northern Dynasty Minerals, the owner of the Pebble project. According to the Anchorage Daily News:
Canadian company First Quantum is one of the world’s top 10 copper mining companies, with projects around the world. The company’s involvement was considered a major boost for Pebble when the possible long-term deal was announced.
The withdrawal of First Quantum leaves Northern Dyanasty without a major partner, and Nelli Williams, Alaska director of Trout Unlimited, believes the company should take this as a sign that the tide has turned against them:
“The writing is on the wall for the proposed Pebble mine. We should stop wasting American tax dollars reviewing a project that cannot prove economic viability, doesn’t have a financial partner, keeps changing, and faces widespread opposition from local communities, a majority of Alaskans, and millions of Americans. The mine’s permit review process should be suspended,” said Williams.
As conservation groups have have stressed after each victory in the now decade-long fight against Pebble Mine, we cannot stop fighting until the Pebble Project is dead for good. Even after the devastating news of last Friday–which caused Northern Dynasty stock to lose a third of its value–the company was talking about the likelihood of another mining company stepping in to replace First Quantum.