One of the two companies heavily invested in a controversial Alaska mine project has backed out, leaving an uncertain future for a project that has been relentlessly hounded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
British mining giant Anglo American has withdrawn from the Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska despite having invested $541 million in the project. Anglo American’s CEO said the decision was driven by the company’s desire to minimize risk and seek high-value investment opportunities.
“Our focus has been to prioritise capital to projects with the highest value and lowest risks within our portfolio, and reduce the capital required to sustain such projects during the pre-approval phases of development as part of a more effective, value-driven capital allocation model,” Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said in a statement.
A proponent of the mine offered more direct response.
“This is a prime example of why the economy isn’t recovering. EPA and their far-left environmental allies are using unprecedented tactics to shut down potential projects and corresponding jobs before they’ve even begun the permitting process,” said Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Anglo American was hailed by environmentalists, who fear the Pebble Mine project would be environmentally harmful to nearby Bristol Bay, Alaska.
“Mining corporation Anglo-American announced on Monday it has canceled its investment in the Pebble copper-mine project in Bristol Bay, Alaska, dealing a major blow to a proposal to exploit a vast swath of American wilderness that is home to the world’s largest remaining wild salmon fishery,” said Jennifer Krill, executive director of Earthworks.
Now, Anglo American’s former partner Northern Dynasty Minerals will have 100 percent ownership over the project, and plans to move forward with the project.
“Our understanding is that the other partner will continue to move forward with the Pebble project, and in that regard we will persist in our efforts to ensure that EPA focuses on fact-based science and standard permitting reviews, and that the Agency cease its prejudicial regulatory tactics,” Vitter added.
The Pebble Mine project has been in limbo for many months now as the EPA considers testing its authority under the Clean Water Act to veto the project by preventing it from getting a necessary water pollution permit.