Live Precious Metals Prices

Friday, November 9, 2007

Fishing for molybdenum

IT IS a short drive from the village of Newhalen, on the shore of Lake Iliamna in south-western Alaska, to Nondalton, about 15 miles (24km) away. At least, it would be short if there was a road. Instead, supplies to the settlement have to be flown in or ferried upriver. Like much of the state, this area—about 250 miles south-west of Anchorage—is wild and undeveloped, a vast plain of rolling tundra, pristine forests and braided rivers.

This is why sportsmen go there, some of them paying as much as $8,000 per week to fish or hunt. More important, the rivers that drain into nearby Bristol Bay support the biggest salmon run on earth. The salmon business is worth some $400m a year, employs 10,000 people, and has sustained dozens of native settlements and their way of life for generations.

But more glitters there than the silvery shapes of sockeye salmon swimming upstream. Two mining companies, Northern Dynasty Minerals of Vancouver and Anglo American, based in London, are working together to develop claims in the area. If they succeed, the largest open-pit mine in North America, two miles wide and nearly 2,000 feet (600 metres) deep, will appear in the middle of this wilderness.

Read full story

No comments: