Northern Dynasty ‘confident’ of final Pebble decision despite White House review

Over the past decade, the development of the Pebble mine has come under intense scrutiny in Alaska due to its potential environmental impact. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/AlaskaTrekker)

Northern Dynasty Minerals’ (TSX: NDM) US-based subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership is welcoming a pending White House review of its controversial copper-gold project and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) last month.

In a public statement issued on Friday, Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier said he is confident that the scientific and regulatory record established by project’s Final EIS demonstrates the project can be developed without harm to fisheries in the Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump pledged to hear out “both sides of the issue” concerning the proposed Pebble mine after his son Donald Jr. — in a rare instance of public disagreement — tweeted to oppose the project supported by his father’s administration.

If permitted, the Pebble mine would be one of the largest open-pit mines in the world, with an estimated $400 billion worth of copper, gold and molybdenum.

However, the proposed mine, located about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage, has been the subject of debate for years as it would sit on traditional salmon breeding grounds as well as a commercial fishery that employs about 15,000 people.

If permitted, the Pebble mine would be one of the largest open-pit mines in the world, with an estimated $400 billion worth of copper, gold and molybdenum

Under President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency reversed an Obama-era decision to block the project, allowing the USACE to proceed with an environmental review leading to the Final EIS.

Collier says his company “remains confident” that final regulatory decisions about Pebble will still be based on the Final EIS, which “clearly establishes the project can co-exist with clean water and healthy fish and wildlife populations, while making a significant positive socioeconomic contributions.”

Collier adds that the Pebble EIS is a “direct extension” of President Trump’s policy direction that permitting decisions on major US development projects be based on objective, independent science and efficient regulatory processes.

Pebble Partnership spokesman Mike Heatwole stated earlier this week that the company does not believe that the President will interfere with this statutory process.

Addressing concerns voiced by critics of the project, Collier says the Final EIS provides an “irrefutable scientific and administrative record” that establishes Pebble as a project of merit. “The Final EIS has really put this matter to bed after more than 15 years of debate,” Collier said.

He also said that those who suggest the Pebble EIS was rushed, politically motivated or scientifically flawed are “attacking the credibility of the US Army Corps of Engineers and its personnel.”

In his closing remarks, Collier reaffirmed his belief that President Trump’s review and final permitting decisions at Pebble will be based upon the “sound scientific and administrative record” established by the Final EIS.