Controversial Pebble Mine plan in tatters

A project to create the world’s largest gold and copper mine in Alaska but which would have destroyed important salmon breeding grounds looks set to fail.

The Pebble Mine plan, in Alaska’s famed Bristol Bay, has been denied a permit from the US’ Army Corps of Engineers after a decade of wrangling, with officials saying it would be “contrary to the public interest.”

The news – ironically coming as the USA prepared to celebrate Thanksgiving – was met with delight by the tackle trade and environmental campaigners, who argued the salmon breeding grounds were vital for both valuable sport and commercial fishing.

In late November the project failed to obtain a critical permit under the federal Clean Water Act that was key to it continuing its passage.

Chris Wood, chief executive of conservation group Trout Unlimited, said: “The Corps’ denial of the permit for the Pebble Mine is a victory for common sense. Bristol Bay is the wrong place for industrial scale mining.”

A simple statement on social media from Simms Fishing Products said: “We give thanks to all those who raised their voice in opposition to protect something wild and true.”

However, Lindsay Layland, deputy director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, sound a note of caution, adding: “It doesn’t mean that those minerals aren’t going to be in the ground tomorrow. We need to continue to push for long term and permanent protections down the road.”