Alaska’s Pebble Project continues to advance despite COVID-19 precautions
Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. reported that the global COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped progress at the Alaska’s Pebble project, the massive copper-gold-molybdenum proposed mine in the Alaska’s Bristol Bay region.
In a press release, Northern Dynasty Minerals’ 100 percent-owned U.S.-based subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership, said mandatory and voluntary steps to ensure the health and safety of its employees, consultants, partners and Alaska neighbors are being taken, but work continues.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is currently undertaking a federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) permitting review of the Pebble Project under the National Environmental Policy Act. The USACE's schedule for the Pebble EIS process calls for a Final EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) by mid-2020 - a target that has not been adjusted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Northern Dynasty President & CEO Ron Thiessen expressed his appreciation for the professionalism and dedication of the company's staff, Pebble Partnership employees, federal and state regulators and others for observing critically important public health and safety protocols while also advancing a project that will be important to economic recovery in Alaska and the United States.
Pebble Partnership CEO Tom Collier: "In response to the Alaska Governor's order, we along with all other nonessential offices in Alaska have closed our office. I start early every morning with a series of separate phone calls with each of our teams to make sure everyone is focused each day on our priority- keeping on schedule for the timely publication of the Final EIS. Everyone on the Pebble team is healthy and working.
"We also are in touch with our team in Iliamna and our Alaska Native village corporation partners at Iliamna Natives Limited and Alaska Peninsula Corporation. All in-bound air traffic has been severely restricted, except for returning full-time residents who must be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival, and to ensure delivery of other necessary supplies. We intend to stay in touch to make sure those in the region are safe.
"While it feels like the entire world has come to a halt because of COVID-19, many organizations, Pebble included, have modified their approach to work but remain focused on core activities. For us this means making sure we are doing everything necessary to ensure that the project schedule published by the USACE of a Final EIS and a ROD by mid-2020 remains on track.
"We do not see any indication at this point of delay. 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. Obviously, things change daily regarding COVID-19 and its impacts, but we remain focused on our goal of keeping on schedule.
"The health and safety of our Pebble team and those who live in the region remain of paramount importance."