Alaska Governor backs Northern Dynasty’s Pebble project

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Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. (NDM-TSX, NAK-NYSE) received a boost Wednesday (March 20, 2024) after Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy called on U.S. President Joe Biden to update and streamline the U.S. mine permitting process in order to boost domestic production of critical minerals and reduce dependence on foreign nations.

“Our message to the Biden administration is, ‘Do everything you can to do everything here in America. Get your permitting process streamlined,’’ Dunleavy told Reuters news service on the sidelines of the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, Tex. The comments were posted in a Scotiabank investment newsletter this morning (Thursday).

It is “somewhat nonsensical,’’ the governor said, that Biden has pushed for greater adoption of electric vehicles – which require far more critical minerals to build than internal combustion engines – but has blocked Northern Dynasty’s Pebble copper and gold mining project. “If we don’t get our permitting processes together, if we don’t start to use data and science again instead of emotion, the chaos is going to continue,” Dunleavy said.

These comments have been published just days after Northern Dynasty issued a response to the Biden Administration’s proposed ban on waste disposal that would hobble the company’s plan to develop its flagship Pebble gold and copper mine in Alaska.

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a formal recommendation on December 1, 2022, to bar the disposal of mining waste in Bristol Bay, an area that hosts the world’s largest salmon harvest. If finalized, the proposed ban would essentially block efforts by Northern Dynasty via its Pebble Ltd. Partnership subsidiary to mine gold, copper and molybdenum from southwestern Alaska.

Northern Dynasty has spent the last two decades trying to develop the Pebble Project, which located on a contiguous block of 1,840 mineral claims in southwestern Alaska. First discovered in 1989, the project ranks as one of the world’s largest undeveloped gold-copper resources.

John Shively, CEO of the U.S.-based Pebble Ltd. Partnership released the following statement, pushing back against what he described as “the unprecedented EPA decision” to veto mining at the Pebble Project:

“We still firmly believe that the proposed determination should have been withdrawn as it is based on indefensible legal and non-scientific assumptions,’’ he said. “The process and the decision have been political from the start, as evidenced by White House Climate Change Advisor Gina McCarthy, stating in November of 2021 that the administration would shut down the project once and for all while praising the action with a ‘hallelujah.’”

Shively said that in his opinion, the EPA has made wildly speculative claims about possible adverse impacts from Pebble’s development that are not supported by any defensible data and are in direct contradiction to the facts validated in the USACE’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Pebble Project. “The FEIS clearly states that Pebble can be developed without harm to the Bristol Bay fishery,’’ he said.

On Thursday, Northern Dynasty shares eased 1.2% or $0.005 to 40.5 cents. The shares trade in a 52-week range of 58 cents and 28 cents.

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