• 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

  • Sports

    Globetrotters coach a UAA basketball coach

    by Dave Leval on Apr 29, 22:03

    It was a mutual admiration’s society, Thursday morning, on the court at Alaska Airlines Center. The Harlem Globetrotters stopped by for an arranged media gathering and in the process also coached the coach. UAA women’s basketball head coach Ryan McCarthy received a few tips from the Globetrotters before deciding whether or not he should join […]

  • Politics

    Could Alaska choose the republican presidential nominee? It’s possible.

    by Liz Raines on Apr 29, 21:53

    It’s an exciting weekend for hundreds of Alaska Republicans at the state GOP convention in Fairbanks. The delegates chosen there could play a key role in the national convention in Cleveland this summer. It all stems from the local party’s last-minute decision to let Marco Rubio keep the five delegates he won in Alaska during […]

  • Lifestyle

    AK Mission of Mercy offers free dental care to those in need

    by Lauren Maxwell on Apr 29, 20:47

    Not everyone likes to go to the dentist, but hundreds of people were feeling grateful after they got the chance to go Friday. That’s because their dental care was free at an event called AK Mission of Mercy. More than 500 people showed up at the Dena’ina Center to get everything from teeth cleanings to […]

  • Lifestyle

    World-class musician tests out Anchorage’s first world-class Bosendorfer piano

    by Heather Hintze on Apr 29, 19:41

    When you have a world-class piano it only makes sense to have a world-class musician test it out. A viewer called KTVA to tell us Classic Pianos, in Government Hill, had its first ever Bosendorfer piano. It’s hand-made in Austria and retails for $125,000. Lithuanian musician Edvinas Minkstimas happened to be in Anchorage for a […]

  • News

    A dedicated crew keeps remote radar site running

    by Bonney Bowman on Apr 29, 19:24

    In Alaska’s most remote corners, 15 Long Range Radar Sites (LRRS) scan the skies looking for threats. It takes a small, but dedicated force to keep these Cold War-era sites up and running. “We’re only 11 pilots here that do this particular job.” Those 11 pilots fly two C12 planes to all the radar sites […]

  • Lifestyle

    The Hungry Chum: Harvest pop-up restaurant is a foraged feast

    by The Hungry Chum on Apr 29, 17:25

    We sat beneath a chandelier made of wine bottles in the middle of the bar. I was eagerly awaiting our eight-course feast. I was skeptical. The tickets sport a $110 price tag, yet I reserved judgment. My dining partner and fellow writer, Wanderer and I were inside Crush, a wine bistro in downtown Anchorage, but […]

  • Lifestyle

    First drug for delusions in Parkinson’s patients approved

    by Associated Press on Apr 29, 15:20

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal health officials have approved an experimental drug to treat psychotic delusions and behaviors that often afflict patients with Parkinson’s disease, the debilitating movement disorder. The drug from Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the first drug for the condition, which affects approximately half of Parkinson’s patients. An estimated 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with […]

  • Sports

    Iditarod bans Travis Beals entry into 2017 race, says it will review regulations

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 29, 11:51

    Musher Travis Beals will not be allowed to race in the 2017 Iditarod, according to a statement released by the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) Friday. Beals will also not be allowed future entry into the Iditarod for an “indefinite period of time beyond 2017,” pending his completion of a court-mandated treatment program. “The Iditarod Trail Committee […]