Rio Tinto announces plans to give away shares in firm that owns Pebble Mine project in Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska – A major shareholder of a company behind a contentious Alaska mine project is giving its shares away to Alaska charitable organizations, at least one of which is part of a larger group that has come out publicly against the project.

London-based mining company Rio Tinto on Monday announced plans to give its shares invested in Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. to the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corp. Education Foundation. Rio Tinto executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said by giving the shares to the organizations, the company is ensuring that Alaskans would have a say in the future development of the mine.

Rio Tinto said the proposed Pebble Mine project, which would sit near the headwaters of the world’s largest salmon fishery, doesn’t fit with its strategy.

The project has faced a series of setbacks by those worried about its environmental repercussions.