Coming soon to Alaska: A Grand Canyon–size gold mine?

The EPA has been working to block a massive project that would create the largest open pit mine ever dug, but the agency's efforts have been halted while a judge decides whether the EPA broke the law in trying to stop the mine. That could pave the way for the world's largest cold and copper mine.

Pebble Partnership, the Canadian company behind the project, seeks to build a mine near Anchorage, Alaska, that would "reach Grand Canyon-level depths" and could yield more than 100 million ounces of gold, 80 billion pounds of copper, and other precious minerals.

Salmon fishermen in Washington and Alaska, Native American groups, and environmental organizations have opposed the massive project for several years, Fox News reports. Pebble asserts that the EPA has conspired illegally with opponents of the mine to devise scientific and environmental justifications for blocking it.

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Pebble's CEO Tom Collier said Tuesday that "for the first time, EPA's march to preemptively veto Pebble has been halted." The case will still take several months to reach a definitive conclusion.

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