Pebble Mine: Taking the Battle to the Board Room – Again – by Joel Reynolds (Natural Resources Defense Council – May 07, 2018)

Bristol Bay Coalition Delivers Message of Unrelenting Opposition in Meetings with First Quantum Minerals in Toronto

Sometimes really bad ideas are hard to kill – especially these days. Take, for example, the Pebble Mine, which Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Administrator Scott Pruitt rescued from its deathbed last May after cutting a deal with the project’s CEO. And just like that this reckless project had a new lease on life – and a new pitch for potential investors.

Last week in Toronto, together with a formidable delegation of leaders from the distant Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska, my NRDC colleague Chris Tackett and I attended the shareholders’ annual general meeting (“AGM”) of Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals and met with its Chair and CEO.

First Quantum, which draws 84% of its revenue from copper mines in Zambia, is looking to expand its operations to the United States by bankrolling the Pebble Mine – now solely owned by Northern Dynasty Minerals, a small Canadian mining exploration company based in Vancouver.

In December First Quantum provided $37.5 million to the cash-strapped project to finance a federal permit application and is now in negotiations over an option agreement to buy 50 percent of the project for $1.5 billion.

I’ve made similar trips before – to London in 2011 through 2014 to meet with Anglo American and Rio Tinto and, in 2010, to Tokyo to meet with Mitsubishi Corporation’s mining subsidiary. All three companies eventually abandoned the Pebble Mine, and we’re hoping now, with exposure to something other than Northern Dynasty’s self-serving propaganda, that First Quantum Minerals, too, will eventually see the light.

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