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Anglo American PLC wants to turn Alaska into land of mines

The chief executive of Anglo American PLC met with key politicians and business leaders in her pitch for transforming lands in western Alaska into one of world's largest mines.

In a speech on Tuesday, Cynthia Carroll said little about projected profit or what minerals the company hopes to extract and instead addressed the most prickly subject in the debate over the Pebble Mine: the fisheries of Bristol Bay.

The mine lies near the headwaters of the world's largest sockeye salmon streams and Carroll went so far as to say the company will drop out of the deal if the resource is not protected.

"We do not want to and will not be associated with a mine that damages Alaska's fisheries and wildlife," Carroll told the Resource Development Council, a pro-business organization, at a breakfast meeting in Anchorage. "If a mine cannot be planned in a way that provides proper protections, it will not be built,"

Anglo American recently agreed to a 50-50 joint venture with the Canadian firm Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. to develop the mine, which the companies say holds world-class deposits of gold and copper.

The London-based company, the largest owner of diamond company De Beers, has pledged to provide $1.4 billion (1 billion EUR) in financing for the project. Anglo-American is the 10th-largest company on the London Stock Exchange.

Northern Dynasty and Anglo American estimate one of the Pebble deposits has 42.6 billion pounds of copper, 39.6 million ounces of gold, and 2.7 billion pounds of molybdenum, which is used to strengthen metal.

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