Northern Dynasty share price rises 12% as company officially reclaims 100% of Pebble project
Diversified mining giant Anglo announced in September that it would pull out of the controversial copper project – part of the company's cost-cutting efforts. On Friday, Anglo concluded its exit from the Pebble Partnership and will take a $300 million write-down as the asset is removed from its books.
At the same time, Northern Dynasty announced that it had taken over Anglo's interest in the Partnership, giving it 100% ownership of the project once again. Northern Dynasty first acquired the site in 2001.
All Anglo representatives have resigned from the Pebble Mines Corporation board of directors.
Northern Dynasty shares were up 12% on the Toronto exchange on Friday, trading at $1.12 per share.
"During the course of the last six years and at a cost of $556 million …, substantial progress has been made toward our goal of permitting, constructing and operating a world-class, modern and environmentally responsible mine at Pebble that will co-exist with the fisheries resources of southwest Alaska," Northern Dynasty CEO Ronald Thiessen said in a statement.
According to Thiessen, Northern Dynasty is now in a position to trigger federal and state permitting in the first quarter of 2014. The company is also working on getting a new partner for the project.
"Our primary focus is to select the right partner for Northern Dynasty and the right investor for Alaska, a company with sufficient financial resources and technical capabilities, working experience in the United States and a shared commitment to environmentally sound and socially responsible development. We have little doubt that Pebble will attract major mining company interest in the months ahead," Thiessen said.
But over the past year the Pebble mine has attracted a lot of unwanted interest. Environmental groups have fiercely opposed the mine over fears that it would endanger fish populations and other wildlife.
Proponents of the mine argue that Alaska is in desperate need of the estimated 15,000 jobs the project would provide and the $400 million boost it would give to Alaska's annual gross state product.
The Pebble deposit holds an estimated 55 billion pounds of copper and 67 million ounces of gold.