Ambler Metals’ suspended access road permits in legal limbo

A drilling contractor at Trilogy’s Arctic copper project in Alaska. (Image courtesy of Trilogy Metals.)

A judge of the Federal District of Alaska is expected to render a decision soon in a dispute regarding the development of a 340-kilometre, east-west-running controlled industrial access road that would provide access to the Ambler Mining District in northwestern Alaska.

In its first-quarter financial report released on Wednesday, Trilogy Metals (TSX: TMQ; NYSE American: TMQ) revealed that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had on April 5 filed a response to court briefs lodged on March 22 by the so-called intervenor defendants, including Ambler Metals, the Aboriginal-owned NANA Regional Corporation (NANA), the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) and the State of Alaska.

This means the judge now has all concerned parties’ briefings before them to render a verdict.

Ambler Metals is a joint venture held 50/50 by Trilogy and South32 Limited (ASX: S32; LSE: S32; JSE: S32) to develop the advanced Arctic and earlier-stage Bornite copper projects, also referred to as the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects (UKMP), in a remote region of Alaska.

Trilogy V.P. for corporate communications & development, Patrick Donnelly, told The Northern Miner the issue dated back to the issuance under the Trump administration of the Final Environmental Impact Assessment (FEIS) in March 2020 and the subsequent Joint Record of Decision (JROD) by the BLM in July 2020.