Northern Dynasty’s Pebble permit decision unaffected by covid-19 precautions

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

Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX: NDM) reported Thursday that work is continuing at the Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum project in Alaska despite the precautionary steps taken by the company in response to the global coronavirus outbreak.

The Pebble project, which has been hampered by controversies and delays for years, is currently under federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) permitting review, conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) under the National Environmental Policy Act.

A draft of the final EIS has already been submitted and is under review by various regulatory agencies, including the EPA and indigenous communities

The USACE’s schedule for the EIS process calls for a final EIS and record of decision by mid-2020, and this target timeframe has not been adjusted as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, Northern Dynasty said.

A draft of the final EIS has already been submitted and is under review by various regulatory agencies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and indigenous communities.

Although the company had to modify their approach to work, including shutting down offices in Alaska, it is “doing everything necessary” to ensure that the project schedule published by the USACE remains on track.

“We do not see any indication at this point of delay,” said Tom Collier, CEO of Pebble Limited Partnership, Northern Dynasty’s US-based subsidiary.

“Some of the regulatory agencies are working from home, but they are continuing to work. As you know, a draft of the final EIS has been completed and is being reviewed by the cooperating agencies. The technical review meetings were completed before covid-19 closed offices.”

If permitted, Pebble would be North America’s largest mine, according to a study by the Center for Science in Public Participation.

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