The Ecologist

 
Sockeye salmon
Sockeye salmon on the Funnel in Katmai National Park, Alaska (Photo by Ben Knight)
More articles about
Related Articles

UK and USA retailers join boycott against Alaska's 'dirty gold'

Tom Levitt

3rd November, 2010

Leading jewellery outlets including Fraser Hart, Tiffany & Co and Beaverbrooks say they won't use gold from London-based Anglo America's proposed mine in the Alaskan wilderness

Jewellery retailers across the UK and US with combined sales of more than £3.5 billion have pledged to reject any gold from an Anglo American mine that threatens Alaska's wild salmon industry.

Anglo American and its Canadian partner Northern Dynasty Minerals plan to excavate a gold and copper mine at the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay, which will involve an open pit with infrastructure stretching over 30 square miles and an 86 mile long access road.

Local campaigners say the mine will destroy one of the most valuable wild sockeye salmon runs on earth and generate up to 10 billion tonnes of contaminated mine waste. The tailings lakes (made up of waste rubble and fluids) alone would bury two valleys.

Globally, wild salmon fisheries are in drastic decline. Yet the Bristol Bay watershed, with its intact rivers and undeveloped landscape, still supports a thriving, wild fishery. The salmon spawning grounds have fed countless generations of Alaskan Natives and today also support a healthy sustainable fishing industry worth $320 million a year and 12,500 jobs.

Now, in what campaigners say is an 'unprecented' move, 50 jewellers, including the UK's leading independent outlet Fraser Hart, have agreed not to sell gold from the mine.

Fraser Hart CEO Noel Coyle said mining of precious metals presented too great a risk to communities and the environment. 'We support protection of Bristol Bay from large-scale mining, and will not source gold that comes at the expense of the communities and salmon fisheries of Bristol Bay.'

Instead of gold and copper mining, the salmon fishery in Bristol Bay provided the 'best opportunity to benefit Southwestern Alaskan communities in a sustainable way,' said Tiffany CEO Michael Kowalski. 'We most look to other places to responsibly source our gold,' he added.

Useful links

Full list of jewellers who have signed pledge
Our Bristol Bay - Campaign group
Nunamtu Aulukestai - Campaign group for Alaska Native people

Add to StumbleUpon
  READ MORE...
NEWS
Alaskan fishermen to fight mining giant at its own AGM
A group of campaigners from Alaska have stepped up their campaign against plans to build one of the world’s largest goldmines by buying shares in Anglo American
HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Protecting wild salmon from pollution
Alaska's long-standing wild salmon-fishing industry could be under threat from large-scale mining development
NEWS ANALYSIS
Revealed: how deep-sea mining could destroy the 'cradle of life on earth'
As Papua New Guinea gives go-ahead to a Canadian mining company to dredge its coastal seabed for minerals, critics say environmental assessments have been inadequate, local objections ignored and new species of life could be extinct before they have even been discovered
HOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Saving a pristine wilderness from an international motorway
How activist Malgorzata Górska helped protect a Polish forest valley, and changed her government's attitude to conservation in the process
NEWS
BP and Shell face new shareholder revolt over tar sands
Investors want oil giants to answer questions on their involvement in the environmentally damaging extraction of oil from tar sands

 

Previous Articles...

ECOLOGIST COOKIES

Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.

More information here...

 

FOLLOW
THE ECOLOGIST