February 18, 2013
Tour opened mind to Pebble Mine
I visited the site of the proposed Pebble Mine last week. Like many Alaskans, I had misgivings about the wisdom of a large-scale mine being developed in the middle of one of the World’s great fisheries. So it was with a fair amount of skepticism that I approached this tour. The presentation that opened the tour contained a history of the exploration, area geology and an explanation of how deposits of this nature is usually mined.
The care with which the explanation phase of the mine has been conducted is extra ordinary. There is virtually no trace of where the first core samples were drilled. The dreaded “trailing’s pond” is just a containment area where discarded rock is stored after the ore has been removed. It’s covered with a shallow layer of water to prevent acidification. I believe that the mine and the fishery can coexist. (Haggard, 2011)
As a Yupik Eskimo from a rural area of Alaska, I have reasons to disagree with Carolyn Haggard of Wasilla and her statement of: “I believe that the mine and the fishery can coexist.” I strongly believe that one of Alaska’s most valuable resource- wild salmon, will, no doubt, be contaminated from the effects of the Pebble Mine in operation. 1) We know that according to latest estimates, Pebble Mine will generate some 10 billion tons of waste, laced with toxic byproducts of the mining process. 2) We know that it will be located at the head of the pristine watershed that feeds Bristal Bay, near the largest fresh water lake in all Alaska. 3) We know that the Bristal Bay watershed sustains one of the most productive fisheries in the world – Alaska’s wild salmon fishery – and that the fishery generates over $400 million each year. 4) We know that large mines leak-during or after their operation-and that copper, in even minute increases above natural levels (several...