Pebble Mine, Alaska
Pebble is a proposed open-pit copper/gold mine located in southwest Alaska, near Lake Iliamna, within the watershed of Bristol Bay. Environmental, fishing and sportsmen's groups are concerned about the impact mining in this region could have on Alaska's wild salmon fishery, an industry worth $4-5 million annually to the Alaskan economy. Watch a short trailer for the award-winning documentary film Red Gold, and visit Ground Truth Trekking for maps and photos showing the area where the Pebble mine will be built if the state of Alaska approves the mine.

Pebble will be North America's biggest open-pit gold mine if it's built. The larger of the two huge tailings impoundments will be held back by a 700' tall earth-and-rock-filled dam almost four miles long - the largest dam in the world, ultimately holding back a slurry of tailings nearly 700' deep that covers more than 6 square miles. (For comparison, China's Three Gorges Dam is 607' high and 7,575' long.) Like most of Alaska, this area is known to be seismically active.

This gallery contains maps and images showing the latest plan for the Pebble mine, based on permit applications filed by Northern Dynasty Minerals with the State of Alaska in the summer of 2006. To convey a sense of the scale of this proposed mine, we've superimposed the mine plan on the city of Seattle.

This plan, however, grossly underrepresents the amount of tailings and waste rock that would be generated if public statements made by NDM of the economically recoverable resource - 10.78 billion tons of ore - are accurate. This recovery scenario would likely involve block-cave underground mining east of the main open pit, and would generate a total of 13.5 billion cubic yards of waste. Based on the terrain and locations of other potential disposal sites evaluated by NDM, we've added two massive tailings impoundments to hold the additional 10.2 billion cubic yards of waste that would be generated. To give you a feel for the sheer size of this potential mining complex, we've superimposed this revised plan on Seattle and Anchorage.

Another option NDM considered in their permit application, but has not requested approval of, is dumping the tailings and reactive wasterock directly into Lake Iliamna.
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