Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX:NDM) (NYSE:NAK) is appealing the decision by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to issue a negative Record of Decision (ROD) for the proposed massive Pebble mine project in the Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska.
On Wednesday, the company published the request for appeal (RFA) document on its website. According to Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen, there are some “very compelling arguments” in the RFA.
“We believe our submission clearly demonstrates the USACE’s Record of Decision for the Pebble project is contrary to law, unprecedented in Alaska and fundamentally unsupported by the administrative record. These are matters not only of concern to Northern Dynasty and its investors, but to all Alaskans,” Thiessen said in a news release.
The Pebble project has received additional support from the State of Alaska, which has also submitted a request to appeal to the USACE addressing its concerns as the owner of land and sub-surface mineral resources at Pebble.
In July 2020, the USACE published a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed copper-gold-molybdenum-silver-rhenium mine, finding that Pebble would “not have measurable effects” on fish populations or fisheries in southwest Alaska.
But the lead federal regulator published a ROD on November 25 denying Pebble a key permit under the Clean Water Act on the grounds that its ‘compensatory mitigation plan’ is non-compliant and the project is not in the ‘public interest.’
If permitted, Pebble would be North America’s largest mine, capable of producing 70 million tonnes of gold, molybdenum and copper ore a year.
However, the mine would also create a pit 1,970 ft (600 m) deep in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. Opponents said the project threatens a world-class sockeye salmon fishery, putting more than $1 billion of revenue and over 10,000 jobs at risk.
Shares of Northern Dynasty Minerals surged 13.3% by midday Wednesday following release of the RFA document. The company has a market capitalization of C$346.15 million.