Corporate Leadership Change Casts Doubt on Pebble Mine
For Immediate Release: Monday, October 29, 2012
DILLINGHAM, AK – The CEO of the UK-based mining corporation behind the controversial proposed Pebble Mine resigned on Friday, raising questions amongst Alaskans about the future of the copper and gold mine proposed for the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Cynthia Carroll stepped down on Friday after 6 years as CEO of Anglo American plc (AAUK), a 50:50 partner in the Pebble Limited Partnership with Canadian company Northern Dynasty.
The change in leadership comes at a time when the company faces decreased stock value and mounting criticism of its management of existing mines, heightening concerns among Alaskans over the company’s involvement at Pebble.
“Anglo American should reassess at this point, and drop the Pebble Mine,” said Kim Williams, executive director of Dillingham-based Nunamta Aulukestai, an association of Bristol Bay native village corporations and tribes. “There’s no future for Anglo American or any other mining company at Pebble because the impacts to the fishery are too great. Our future is the fishery, and the abundance of sustainable jobs it supplies.”
Anglo American’s shareholders have been calling on the CEO to quit in response to reduced earnings and disagreements over strategy. Anglo projects have been hampered by delays and a downturn in global commodity prices. Her resignation is also occurring amidst violent strikes at its operations in Africa, where over 12,000 striking mine workers were fired at its troubled South African operations. The workers are protesting work and pay conditions.
In response to opposition from Bristol Bay residents, Cynthia Carroll has repeatedly promised that the company wouldn’t move forward with the proposed Pebble Mine if it didn’t have community support.
“Cynthia Carroll promised that Anglo American wouldn’t develop the Pebble Mine if it didn’t have community support,” said Bobby Andrew, subsistence fisherman and spokesperson for Nunamta. “We’re left to wonder just who is accountable to the guarantees that Anglo made to Bristol Bay residents?”
The proposed Pebble Mine is the subject of a recent study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which identified significant impacts to the fishery from developing the Pebble deposit.
Commercial fishermen and Alaska Native Tribes have petitioned the U.S. EPA to use its authority under 404c of the Clean Water Act to restrict the disposal of mine waste in Bristol Bay waterways to protect the fishery, which provides an estimated 14,000 annual jobs and supplies roughly half of the world’s wild sockeye salmon.