If Alaska’s proposed Pebble Gold Mine goes forward, it could be North America’s largest mine. It would necessitate the construction of the biggest dam in the world — right at the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. Environmentalists and commercial fishers are up in arms about the project; mining companies Northern Dynasty Minerals and Anglo-American are beginning exploratory drilling and preparing environmental impact statements. The mining companies are also trying to woo local native Alaskans, who may have the final say over whether the mine goes forward. Which will be stronger: traditional subsistence-hunting values, or the call of the dollar?

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.