• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 38s

Rio Tinto announces withdrawal from Pebble project

By Kirsten Swann, Lauren Maxwell 6:07 AM April 7, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

A major stakeholder in the proposed Pebble Mine project announced Monday that it will donate its share of the company to two local Alaska charities.

Rio Tinto — a multinational metals corporation — owns a 19.1 percent stake in Northern Dynasty Minerals, Ltd., the owner of the Pebble Limited Partnership. Northern Dynasty has pursued development of a large-scale mine in the Bristol Bay region for more than a decade, but has faced everything from legal issues to staunch opposition from environmental and Alaska Native groups.

In a written statement announcing the move, Rio Tinto said its stake in Northern Dynasty would be gifted to the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation.

“Rio Tinto has long and historic ties to Alaska and we continue to see Alaska as an attractive location for potential future investment,” wrote Rio Tinto Copper chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques. ”By giving our shares to two respected Alaskan charities, we are ensuring that Alaskans will have a say in Pebble’s future development and that any economic benefit supports Alaska’s ability to attract investment that creates jobs.”

“It’s really an amazing day,” said Greta Goto, director of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation. “I don’t think anything like this has ever happened in the state of Alaska.”

The foundation was gifted with stock shares worth $8 million. Goto said the money will go toward shareholder scholarships.

Money from Alaska Community Foundation’s shares will help to train Alaskans in fields related to resource development.

In a written response to the decision distributed Monday morning, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she appreciates Rio Tinto’s handling of the decision and its educational investment in the Bristol Bay region.

“I understand that many mining companies are reevaluating their project portfolios right now, but I’m concerned by what else may have prompted this decision,” she wrote. “If we want to attract investment to our state and our economy, we need a regulatory system at the federal level that is predictable enough to allow responsible development to go forward – at least to the permitting stage, and without the threat of a preemptive veto from the EPA hanging over it.”

An environmental assessment released in late February by the Environmental Protection Agency found a mine would pose serious risks to salmon habitats and Alaska Native cultures in the Bristol Bay region.

Rio Tinto is the second big company to pull out of the Pebble Project. That leaves Northern Dynasty standing alone, waiting for an EPA decision that could veto the project outright. The company has an April 29 deadline to address concerns by the EPA that developing the mine will hurt Bristol Bay salmon.

But despite what many would consider declining odds, a spokesman for the Pebble Partnership said they haven’t given up.

“There still remains a lot of interest in this project,” said spokesman Mike Heatwole. “There’s a tremendous asset of mineral wealth under the ground at Pebble for Alaskans and for all of our stakeholders.”

Latest Stories

  • News

    Concerns high after Anchorage sees 6th homeless death in recent weeks

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 13:51

    Anchorage saw another homeless death this week in what is becoming a growing concern for many in the community. Bean’s Cafe says one of their clients died early Tuesday morning, marking the sixth homeless death in about two weeks. Around 3 a.m. Tuesday, Anchorage police and medics responded to a woman in cardiac arrest near […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage physician sentenced to 3.5 years for Medicaid fraud

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 29, 13:04

    An Anchorage physician accused of Medicaid fraud was sentenced in Superior Court Wednesday. Dr. Shubhranjan Ghosh was sentenced to a total of seven years, with three and a half of those years suspended. He was also sentenced to 10 years probation. Ghosh, of Ghosh Psychiatric Services, specialized in treating children and adolescents with autism and mental health […]

  • News

    Moose’s Tooth named among TripAdvisor’s top pizza places

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 10:35

    ANCHORAGE – Moose’s Tooth’s popularity isn’t a secret to locals, and now the Anchorage restaurant is getting some national recognition. Moose’s Tooth ranked third in TripAdvisor’s top-10 U.S. pizza restaurants. The results were based on millions of TripAdvisor travelers’ reviews and opinions, with more weight given to reviews written in the past year, according to a […]

  • News

    Activists rappel off Oregon bridge to stop Shell icebreaker

    by Associated Press on Jul 29, 10:09

    More than a dozen activists rappelled off the St. Johns Bridge in an effort to stop a Shell Oil Arctic icebreaker from leaving Portland. Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard says the protesters dangling off the bridge early Wednesday have enough water and food to last for days. The Royal Dutch Shell PLC icebreaker Fennica […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, July 29

    by KTVA Weather on Jul 29, 9:13

    Anchorage Mostly cloudy with some sunbreaks and scattered showers. Highs in the upper 60s. Winds S 5-10 in the metro, SE 15-25 along Turnagain Arm. Kenai and Prince William Sound Mostly cloudy with some sunbreaks and scattered rain showers. Highs mostly in the 60s. Southeast Alaska Cloudy with rain showers. Highs mostly in the 50s. […]

  • Crime

    Wrangell doctor found guilty in child pornography case

    by Associated Press on Jul 29, 8:12

    A former Wrangell doctor has been found guilty of distributing and receiving child pornography. KTOO-FM reports (http://bit.ly/1glnEnj) that after an hour and a half of deliberations a U.S. District Court jury found Greg Salard guilty on the two charges Tuesday. A third, lesser charge for possession was set aside since it was dependent on a […]

  • News

    University of Alaska names new president

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 8:05

    The University of Alaska has a new president. The UA Board of Regents appointed Dr. James Johnsen as the 14th president of the university system, according to an announcement made Tuesday. The vote was unanimous with all regents participating. Johnsen is a former UA executive and currently servers as the vice president of human resources at […]

  • News

    Cathay Pacific departs Aleutians after emergency landing

    by Associated Press on Jul 29, 7:29

    Updated 12:45 p.m. ANCHORAGE - A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 bound from Hong Kong to Los Angeles has departed from a U.S. air base in the Aleutian Islands, hours after the plane made an emergency landing because of smoke. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says Flight 884 landed early Wednesday morning at Eareckson Air Station […]