Pebble mine scores small win in land deal with Alaskan landowners

Pebble mine would be located 320 km southwest of Anchorage, within the Bristol Bay watershed. (Image courtesy of Northern Dynasty Minerals.)

Shares in Canadian miner Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX:NDM) were up Wednesday following an agreement announced late Tuesday between its subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) and the Alaska Peninsula Corporation (APC) that lets the company use defined portions of lands to build and operate roads for the stalled Pebble copper-gold-silver project.

If the proposed mine makes it through the lengthy and so far bumpy permitting process, the transportation corridor would provide employment opportunities around the region and incentivize people to stay, the company said.

Company has secured the right to use portions of land for construction and operation of transportation infrastructure for the mine.

“[The agreement] represents a significant milestone in the developing relationship between Pebble and the Alaska Native people of the region,” Northern Dynasty president and CEO Ron Thiessen said in the statement.

Brad Angasan, vice president of corporate affairs for APC, said the deal would especially benefit the villages of Kokhanok and Newhalen.

The Pebble Partnership would have access to about 1,400 acres (5.7 square km) of APC land to develop transportation infrastructure, including roads, pipelines and ferry landing sites.

APC would receive annual toll payments and other fees from PLP before and during the mine’s construction and operation. It would also have preferred status in bids on Pebble-related contracts on the corporation’s lands.

The two parties have also agreed to negotiate a profit-sharing agreement that will ensure APC and its shareholders benefit directly from the profits generated by mining activity in the region.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing an environmental review of Pebble Mine, with preliminary results due in January.

The project was mostly stalled during the Obama administration, but is moving forward under President Donald Trump, who is in favour of increasing domestic mining.

Northern Dynasty was trading up 5% to C$1.05 at 11:20 am, after closing Tuesday 10% higher at 99 Canadian cents.

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