Jewellers meet in London to campaign against Anglo American gold mine.
British jewellers joined together with fishermen and ethical campaigners in London this week to pledge not to use gold sourced from miner Anglo American’s proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, which is said to be the world’s most important fishing ground for wild sockeye salmon.
Multiple retailer Fraser Hart, luxury jeweller Boucheron, ethical jeweller Ingle & Rhode and US jeweller John Hardy are the latest jewellers to make the pledge. They join a group of more than 50 existing jewellery signatories that include Goldmsiths, Mappin & Webb, Beaverbrooks and Tiffany & Co.
The proposed open-pit mine would be the largest in North America and would generate an estimated 10 billion tonnes of mine waste, according to environmental group Earthworks. The group is claiming that should the proposed mine open it would destroy the salmon spawning habitat in Bristol Bay’s designated fishery reserve and jeopardise the commercial fishing industry and the livelihoods of the Alaska Native communities in the region.
Fraser Hart chief executive Noel Coyle said: “In some areas, mining of precious metals presents too great a risk to communities and the environment. Bristol Bay is such an area. 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.”
The Bristol Bay salmon fishery supplies a third of the world’s commercial supply of wild sockeye salmon and is said to be the lifeblood of many Alaska Native communities and crucial for the state’s economy. The fishing industry generates US$400 million (£)247 million) a year and more than 5,500 jobs.
The proposed Pebble Mine, roughly 200 miles southwest of Anchorage, is a project of London-based Anglo American, one of the world’s largest mining companies, and Northern Dynasty Minerals of Canada. The copper and gold mine would require construction of huge dams to hold back mountains of toxic mine waste, a deepwater port, pipelines, an 86-mile road, a power plant, and hundreds of miles of power lines.
Bristol Bay fisherman Everett Thompson said: "When we met last year with Anglo American, [chief executive] Cynthia Carroll said they won’t go where they aren’t wanted. 80 percent of folks in Bristol Bay don’t want the mine and jewellers don’t want the gold, so why is Anglo American still pushing for the mine?"