*** New Investigation Lifts Veil on Anglo American¹s Corporate Record
*** Water and Air Pollution, Uprooted Communities, Neglect for Worker Safety at Company’s Mines Raises Concerns for Bristol Bay
Embargoed for Release: 1 August 2008
Phil Mattera, report author, (202) 725-7906
Bobby Andrew, Nunamta Aulukestai, (907) 842-5983
Dave Atcheson, Renewable Resources Coalition, (907) 306-0960
Izetta Chambers, Naknek Family Fisheries, (907) 439-6053
Anchorage, Alaska – new investigation into Anglo American’s environmental and social record released today describes toxic mine waste spills, air and water pollution, workplace fatalities and uprooted communities at mines owned by the London-based corporation and its subsidiaries. As a result, Alaska community leaders are raising new questions about what may be in store for Bristol Bay’s wild salmon and local communities if the Pebble mine, in which Anglo American holds a 50 percent share, is developed.
“The report shows that regardless of where Anglo American operates, what rules it plays under, and who is at its helm, there have been problems, including worker fatalities, polluted water, fish kills, and uprooted
communities, said Bobby Andrew, a board member of Nunamta Aulukestai, a group of eight Native Bristol Bay corporations and villages. “We can’t afford to risk our wild salmon on the slim promise that Anglo American might do things differently in Alaska.”
In a press release issued last August, Anglo American said it was “committed to the highest international standards for community relations, environmental protection, and health and safety.” Yet the report, “Anglo
American: Rhetoric or Reality?” by veteran corporate researcher and former journalist Phil Mattera, documents major spills, water and air pollution, damaged fish habitat, and local conflicts at Anglo American mines that run counter to its claims of corporate responsibility.
“We wanted to get the whole story, not just what Anglo American wants us to know,” said Andrew, whose group commissioned the report along with Renewable Resources Coalition to gain new information about the mining corporation, one of the top five in the world with $30 billion in revenues last year.
Bristol Bay supports the world’s most productive wild sockeye salmon fishery. The Pebble mine, a massive gold-copper-molybdenum deposit would sit at the headwaters of the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers, the region’s two most productive salmon-spawning habitats.
“While Anglo American spends millions of dollars on public relations firms, this report provides Alaskans with facts,” said Dave Atcheson, a commercial fisherman who does outreach for the Renewable Resources Coalition. “If Anglo treats Alaskans the same way it has treated people in Nevada, Ireland, and Africa, our wild salmon, our fishing jobs, and our families will suffer.”
The report is based on hundreds of publicly available documents, including news sources, scientific studies, and the company’s annual reports. Social and environmental problems outlined in the report occurred during the time Anglo American or one of its subsidiaries owned or had significant holdings in the mines.
“My family has been salmon fishing here for generations,” said Izetta Chambers who grew up and still lives in Naknek. “We’re blessed to live in such a beautiful place with the world’s biggest wild sockeye runs at our
doorstep. Our wild salmon are worth more than gold,” Chambers added. “Risking our wild Alaska salmon, our families, and our future, on cheap promises from Anglo American, especially with its bad track record, just
doesn’t make sense.”
“Anglo American can hardly be considered a model of good corporate citizenship,” Mattera said. “The company’s record speaks for itself.”
Philip Mattera, the report’s author, is a veteran corporate researcher in Washington, D.C. Earlier in his career he was a reporter-researcher for a major business magazine. He is the author of four books, including World
Class Business: A Guide to the 100 Most Powerful Global Corporations, and is a member of the National Writers Union.
A fact sheet with report highlights along with a copy of the full report and executive summary are available at: www.eyeonpebblemine.org