Prospects brighten for Alaska’s Pebble project after environmental impact statement released

Pebble project site, Alaska. Image from Northern Dynasty.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, for Northern Dynasty’s (TSX: NDM; NYSE : NAK) Alaska Pebble project, one of the richest copper-gold deposits ever discovered.

The DEIS is an important milestone and positive development for Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty, its subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) and the Alaska Peninsula Corporation (APC) that lets the company use defined portions of lands to build and operate roads for the long-stalled Pebble copper-gold-silver project.

While Pebble is considered one of the richest copper-gold deposits ever discovered, the project is controversial, and has faced powerful opposition.

While Pebble’s current resource estimate includes 6.5 billion tonnes in the measured and indicated categories containing 57 billion pounds copper, 71 million ounces gold, 3.4 billion lb molybdenum and 345 million oz silver; the project is controversial, and has faced powerful opposition.

Effectively banned by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Barack Obama, prospects for the Pebble project’s development brightened considerably after the election of Donald Trump, whose administration is seen as resource- friendly.

Critics have said the project, located in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region would harm indigenous communities and the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

According to Northern Dynasty, the Pebble project is the most significant undeveloped copper and gold resource in the world.

“Our preliminary review of the DEIS shows no major data gaps or substantive impacts associated with a mine at the Pebble site.  We see no significant environmental challenges that would preclude the project from getting a permit and believe this shows Alaska stakeholders that there is a clear path forward for this project,” said Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier in a media statement Thursday.

The US Army Corps of Engineers will facilitate a formal consultation and public comment process on the Pebble project DEIS this spring.

At market close Wednesday, Northern Dynasty’s shares were up over 12%, and gained another 7% in after-hours trading.