From Laine Welch in Kodiak --
First Alaskans, Bristol Bay commercial and sport fishermen, and business owners are off to London to meet this week with top Anglo American mining officials at the global conglomerate’s annual meeting.
Anglo American is the developer behind the proposed Pebble Mine in Southwest Alaska. Mining companies claim that the region holds some of the largest deposits of gold and copper in North America. Pebble development would provide badly needed jobs for hundreds of people. However, it is located at the headwaters of the world’s most productive sockeye salmon fishery at Bristol Bay.
The AK2UK group of seven aims to convince the mining company that most of the region’s residents oppose the mine, said Bobby Andrew, a spokesman of Nunamta Aulukestai (Caretakers of the Land).
“We did an opinion survey of nearly 35 villages last March and 70 percent opposed the Pebble Project,” Andrew said. “Surprisingly, 70 percent of the villages in the Iliamna region said they were opposed. That’s kind of interesting because you sometimes get the sense that area supports the mine, but the survey says differently.”
In visits to Alaska last year Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll stated about the Pebble Mine: “If the people don’t want it, then they are not going to do it.”
U.K. media and the Royal Family are invited to the London premiere of “Red Gold,” an award winning documentary about how the Pebble Mine would change people’s lives. Follow the blog during the AK2UK trip here.
-- Laine Welch can be reached at email@example.com.