Pebble project to get $107 million permitting push

May 16, 2012

Northern Dynasty Minerals will commit more than $100 million dollars in a push for the permitting of the Pebble Project in Alaska.

The company announced that it has allocated $107 million for a plan that will provide a detailed description of the huge copper and gold project that is facing stiff opposition because of its proximity to Bristol Bay, one of the premier salmon fisheries in the world.

The summer push will include plans that cover issues such as the mine’s power requirements, employment opportunities and strategies to mitigate any environmental impacts will be included, said Mike Heatwole, spokesman for the Pebble Partnership, the group behind the mine project. The mine is a joint venture between Northern Dynasty and Anglo American of the United Kingdom, which has spent approximately $400 million to advance the project.

The Associated Press reported that public meetings will be held with stakeholders in the fall to discuss project details such as how mine waste will be handled and how Pebble will be able to coexist with Bristol Bay fisheries, Heatwole said.

Pebble is one of the largest deposits of its kind in the world. The companies say it has the potential of producing more than 80 billion lbs of copper, more than 107 million oz of gold and 5.6 billion lbs of molybdenum. The companies say Pebble also could provide an estimated 1,000 well-paying, full-time jobs.

But opponents say the mine poses an unacceptable level of danger to salmon, the region’s valuable renewable resource.

Heatwole said the Pebble Partnership will have technical experts at the fall meetings to discuss particulars and inform the public. He said the mining companies are eager to share information.

Northern Dynasty president and chief executive officer Ronald Thiessen said the companies are focused on finalizing the project description, adding that it will meet and exceed federal and state environmental regulations and permitting requirements. At the same time, Pebble will provide “significant benefits to the region, the state and the nation,” he said in a statement.



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