Northern Dynasty's new CEO is a former interior dep't mandarin
Northern Dynasty (TSE:NDM) has brought on a political savvy operator to get their Pebble Mine project approved.
Thomas Collier, who used to work as chief of staff at the US Department of the Interior during the Clinton era, is the miner's new CEO and has replaced outgoing John Shively. The company announced the change on Tuesday.
Collier said his priorities are finding a partner for Northern Dynasty and securing federal and state permits for the mine to proceed.
In an interview with E&E, Collier admitted he does not have much mining experience. After leaving the US Department of Interior he worked at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson in Washington DC, which has an arm focussed on mining and permitting.
Last month the Pebble Mine project suffered a setback when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final assessment on the proposed mine finding that "large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed poses risks to salmon and Alaska Native cultures."
Since making the announcement, Northern Dynasty has dropped about 3.36% this week to $1.44. Junior gold miners moved sideways this week. The GDX gained 0.97% over the past five days.
Northern Dynasty news release below.
(PR) Northern Dynasty announces new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pebble Limited Partnership
February 4, Vancouver, BC — Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. (TSX: NDM; NYSE MKT: NAK) ("Northern Dynasty" or the "Company") announced today that Thomas C. (Tom) Collier, a respected US regulatory lawyer based in Washington DC and former Chief of Staff in the U.S. Department of Interior, has been named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pebble Limited Partnership ("Pebble Partnership" or "PLP), replacing John Shively. Collier has served as senior external counsel to Northern Dynasty since 2011.
A former Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources ("DNR") and Chief of Staff to former Alaska Governor Bill Sheffield, Shively has been named Chairman of Pebble Mines Corp ("PMC"). He will continue to play an active role on the Pebble strategic leadership team.
"Resolving complex, challenging and controversial development projects has been the major focus of my career for the past several decades, so I welcome the challenge of serving as Pebble CEO," Collier said. "I will immediately focus my energies on preparing the strategy and scientific resources necessary to secure federal and state permits for the construction and operation of a modern, long-life mine at Pebble in the years ahead."
Collier's 40-year career, spent principally as a partner at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington DC, includes extensive natural resource sector experience, particularly as it relates to federal regulation and permitting. He specializes in providing strategic leadership to companies navigating federal environmental permitting processes, specifically the Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") process under the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") and 404 wetlands permitting under the Clean Water Act.
Collier has played a senior role on several major projects that successfully secured federal permits in Alaska — including reauthorization of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.'s Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) and several developments undertaken by Conoco Phillips. Based on his industry experience, as well as his time serving as Chief of Staff for Bruce Babbitt at the US Department of the Interior, Collier has developed extensive knowledge of and networks within key federal regulatory agencies — including the US Army Corps of Engineers and US Environmental Protection Agency.
"From my experience, I have developed three key principles that I believe are essential to resolving the kind of environmental controversy we see at Pebble," he said. "First, natural resource development and environmental protection can and do co-exist; second, science is the key to resolving such controversies; and third, the NEPA-required EIS process is the best way to resolve scientific disagreements.
"I am bringing these lessons and my extensive experience with the section 404 permitting process to Pebble, and I'm confident that this great project will be permitted and built in Alaska."
Northern Dynasty President & CEO Ron Thiessen thanked Shively for his six years
of service to PLP, and noted the Pebble organization will continue to benefit from the new PMC Chairman's knowledge of Alaska and its permitting and regulatory system, as well as his relationships with the state's government, business, community and Native leaders.
"With Tom as CEO, we have a US federal and regulatory permitting specialist, and a business leader with a positive track record for achieving development permits for large, complex and controversial projects," he said. "And in John we have one of Alaska's most respected and experienced business leaders, whose track record for working with government and Alaska Native communities is unparalleled.
"Today's announcement has only strengthened our corporate and project leadership team at Pebble. We look forward with great enthusiasm to the next major milestones for this project — announcing a new major funding partner and initiating project permitting under NEPA."
About the Pebble Project
The Pebble Project is an initiative of the Pebble Partnership to responsibly develop a globally significant copper, gold and molybdenum deposit in southwest Alaska into a modern, long-life mine, which will benefit not only the owner, but the people, culture and industries of the State of Alaska, as well as suppliers, consultants and industries in the Lower 48 United States of America.
A recent study authored by IHS Global Insight, entitled The Economic and Employment Contributions of a Conceptual Pebble Mine to the Alaska and United States Economies found the Pebble Project has the potential to support 15,000 American jobs and contribute more than $2.5 billion annually to US GDP over decades of production. The IHS Global Insight study is available at www.northerndynasty.com.
The Pebble Project is located 200 miles southwest of Anchorage on state land designated for mineral exploration and development. It is situated in a region of rolling tundra approximately 1,000 feet above sea-level, 65 miles from tidewater on Cook Inlet and presents favourable conditions for successful mine site and infrastructure development.