Cellular salmon group Wildtype is joining forces with environmental NGO The Conservation Fund in a fundraising campaign to prevent the opening of the copper and gold mine Pebble Mine upstream in Bristol Bay, in southwestern Alaska.
The proposed mine has been at the heart of a decade-long struggle for mining in one of the world’s largest salmon fisheries.
The project’s plans have drawn strong opposition from Alaska Native tribes, seafood processors and commercial fishers, uniting them with scientists, activists and politicians who fear potentially serious risks. for the region’s salmon population and the local economy.
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that permanently limits land uses to protect its conservation values. Also known as a conservation restriction or conservation agreement, a conservation easement is an option to protect a property for future generations.
Source: National Conservation Easements Database (NCED)
The campaign joined by Wildtype aims to raise $20 million (€19.6 million), with the aim of securing conservation easements that would benefit the Pedro Bay Corporation, an Alaska Native Village Corporation.
“While the state and federal governments have so far not approved a license for the Pebble Mine, the environmentally sensitive area must be permanently protected,” said Ben Friedman, chief growth officer of Wildtype, who has grew up in the Pacific Northwest.
The comments were picked up by The Conservation Fund, which states on its website that Pebble Mine threatens to destroy one of the most ecological and cultural places on earth.
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“Join us permanently in protecting a world famous part of Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest wild salmon fishery, accounting for 57% of the world’s sockeye salmon harvest,” the NGO said on its website.
Alaska’s salmon industry fears mining activities will tarnish its brand, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for the state.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to ban mining waste disposal in the Bristol Bay watershed, a move seen as likely to kill the project, the New York Times reported in May.
Pebble Mine, with copper reserves estimated at 37.18 million metric tons, is listed by the Canadian Mining Review top of a list of potential copper projects in North America for 2022.
Earlier this year, Wildtype announced that a cast of star investors including Cargill, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr. and Jeff Bezos participated in a $100 million (€88 million) seed round .