Price of Gold: Alaska's Salmon

Fear region's resource will be devastated
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 25, 2007 7:04 AM CST
A proposed giant gold mine 160 miles south west of Anchorage Alaska would produce millions of tons of waste, devastate the region's salmon fishery and make drastic inroads into traditional ways of life...   (Magnum Photos)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The world's largest sockeye salmon fishery, located in the Bristol Bay area of Alaska, is threatened with destruction by a proposed gold mine, which could become the biggest in North America. The planned Pebble Mine has polarized the state; mining companies, on the one hand, and environmentalists and commercial fishing interests, on the other, are waging fierce lobbying campaigns, the Washington Post reports.

The target is a native Alaskan community of a few thousand whose traditional lifestyle is heavily dependent on sockeye, but  who are also attracted to potential jobs. "If we can't show to the satisfaction of the local people that we can protect the fisheries, we will not advance this project," said a mining company spokesman.