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Taryn Kiekow Heimer’s Blog

Check out our ad in today's London Financial Times thanking Rio Tinto for leaving the Pebble Mine!

Taryn Kiekow Heimer

Posted April 15, 2014 in Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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Global mining giant Rio Tinto announced last week that it will divest its entire stake in the controversial Pebble Mine by gifting its shares to two Alaskan charitable foundations.  NRDC ran this full-page ad in today’s London Financial Times thanking Rio Tinto: 

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NRDC Western Director Joel Reynolds will present the ad to Rio Tinto’s board of directors at the company’s Annual General Meeting today in London. 

Rio Tinto’s decision to divest follows its December 2013 announcement that it would undertake a “strategic asset review,” of its interest in the Pebble Mine, including “possible divestment.”

The company certainly made good on its word.  In last week’s press release, Rio Tinto pledged to gift its 19.1 percent shareholding in junior Canadian mining company Northern Dynasty Minerals -- which holds the mineral rights to develop the Pebble Mine -- to the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation.

Rio Tinto’s announcement is the latest blow to an already beleaguered project that would build a gigantic gold and copper mine at the headwaters of the planet’s greatest wild salmon stronghold.  It is the third large company to back out of Pebble Mine in recent years.  Anglo American announced in September 2013 that it would withdraw from the project by handing its 50% stake (and $540 million invested) in the project back to Northern Dynasty and taking a $300 million write down in the process.  And Mitsubishi sold all of its interest in the project in February 2011.

Anglo American's pullout left Northern Dynasty without a much-needed partner to bankroll the development of the Pebble Mine. Northern Dynasty says is continuing to search for a new partner, but Rio Tinto’s divestment signals bad news for the project – and good news for the people of Bristol Bay.

NRDC and its 1.4 million members and activists join the people from Bristol Bay, Alaska Natives, commercial fishermen, sportsmen, jewelers, chefs, restaurant and lodge owners, and conservationists in thanking Rio Tinto for showing environmental and financial leadership by divesting from Pebble Mine.

And we once again urge EPA to use its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to stop the Pebble Mine.

 

Photos in the ad courtesy of Robert Glenn Ketchum and Bob Waldrop

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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