To the editor:
Just when we thought they had packed up and left the area, Riversdale Alaska is back, squiring around a potential new investor for its proposed Chickaloon coal mine. The investor is Sun Pacific Resources Pty Ltd. (SPR).
Kirby Johnson, SPR’s executive director, says SPR is a “special purchase vehicle,” incorporated in Australia specifically to evaluate whether to invest in Riversdale’s Chickaloon site. Johnson has worked for SPR, which looks like a shell corporation, only since February, but was with the company for five months in late 2009. His employment history includes several stretches with BHP Billiton, one of the world’s largest mining companies.
As part of his evaluation, Johnson has been meeting with selective community members. Although he met with members of Castle Mountain Coalition, from whom he heard strong opposition to the proposed mine, it appears that he primarily talked to those who favor mining. He met with the mayor, who has in the past expressed support of coal mining, but not with the Assemblyperson from the affected district. He met with officers of the Sutton and Chickaloon Community Councils, but those meetings were not announced to the full membership. In fact, the Chickaloon Community Council met the very night before Johnson’s scheduled meeting with the officers; a representative of Riversdale was in attendance; yet no one informed the members of the pending meeting nor, in fact, of SPR’s presence in the area.
SPR should be careful not to assume that the community is willing to have our Valley exploited by multinational corporations. Many people are not.