When Gold Isn’t Worth the Price

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributor

When Gold Isn’t Worth the Price


Photo Credit Eleni Kalorkoti

THERE are few places in the world more beautiful than the landscape of salmon-rich rivers that flow into Bristol Bay, Alaska. I arrived there seven years ago not as a sportsman or ecotourist, as most visitors do, but as a chief executive fearful that the company I led would be seen as complicit in the destruction of this remarkable place.

My colleagues and I traveled to Bristol Bay in 2008 to encounter firsthand the land and people put in harm’s way by the proposed Pebble Mine. This vast open-pit gold and copper mine and its toxic waste would obliterate miles of pristine streams and thousands of wilderness acres that sustainthe world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, which supports thousands of jobs. All in pursuit of the gold from which Tiffany & Company made jewelry.

The conclusion we reached was inescapable: No amount of corporate profit or share price value could justify our participation, however indirectly, in the degradation of such indescribable beauty. Beyond pledging not to use gold produced by the Pebble Mine, we became vocal opponents of mine development there. Read more.