Northern Dynasty celebrates Corps of Engineers decision and acknowledges challenges ahead
On May 1, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. celebrated the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Pacific Division’s decision to remand the permit decision back to the Corps of Engineers’ – Alaska District, saying the decision was a strong win for the Pebble Project.
“We have been saying that the record of decision process was not fairly conducted since 2020 and are pleased to see that the Review Officer has raised similar concerns on many substantive issues,” said Ron Thiessen, President and CEO of Northern Dynasty. “The two major areas for the negative ROD decision, namely the deemed non-compliance of our comprehensive mitigation plan (CMP) and the Public Interest Review (PIR), were highlighted by the Review Officer as areas where the District did not carry out the proper process in arriving at its decision. This remand decision is a ‘strong win’ for the project because it brings these issues to light and directs the District to address them, potentially setting the stage for a much different outcome.”
Thiessen continued, “The Review Officer has clearly demonstrated that the CMP process was flawed. The administrative record does not show that we were given sufficient instruction, feedback or time to remedy the plan in order to have a chance of success. If we are given the opportunity to provide a new CMP that meets the requirements, it could remove the ‘significant degradation’ finding which, in turn, could have a cascading effect on the PIR and compliance with the Clean Water Act.”
However, despite the victory, Northern Dynasty Minerals also acknowledged doubts about its future on May 15. Reuters reported that the company is unsure of its future if it is not able to raise the necessary capital for the Pebble copper and gold mining project in Alaska.
Northern added that it is in process of exploring and evaluating the Pebble project and has not yet determined whether the project contains mineral reserves that are economically recoverable.
To continue operations, Northern is entirely dependent upon the existence of these economically recoverable mineral reserves and its ability to obtain financing to complete the exploration and development of the project.
As of March 31, Northern and its units had C$9.4 million ($7 million) in cash and cash equivalents for its operating requirements and working capital of C$8.1 million.
The company would require additional financing in order to progress any material expenditures at the Pebble project and for working capital requirements.
In January the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it plans to take steps to block the proposed project by preventing Northern Dynasty from storing mine waste in the state’s vast watershed.