Alaska Republicans backing huge gold-copper mine

Examining cor at the Pebble Mine, Alaska. Source: Northern Dynasty Minerals

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Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. [NDM-TSX; NAK-NYSE] reported Wednesday August 19 that the Alaska Republican Party has passed a resolution “in support of the responsible development of the Pebble Mine.”

Northern Dynasty shares advanced on the news, rising 1.5% or $0.03 to $2.05 on volume of 923,412 shares traded. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $3.28 and 49 cents.

Northern Dynasty’s principal asset, owned through its wholly-owned Alaska-based U.S. subsidiary, Pebble Limited Partnership, is a 100% interest in a contiguous block of 2,402 mineral claims in southwest Alaska, including the Pebble deposit.

First discovered in 1989, the Pebble project ranks as one of the world’s largest undeveloped gold-copper resources.

At a 0.3% copper equivalent cut-off, the Pebble project is estimated to contain 6.456 billion tonnes in the combined measured and indicated categories  at a grade of 0.40% copper, 0.34 g/t gold, 240 ppm molybdenum, containing 57 billion pounds of copper, 71 million ounces of gold, 3.4 billion pounds of molybdenum and 345 million ounces of silver.

However, the project has been a lightning rod for environmentalists who expressed concerns about the impact of a large mine on local salmon runs.

The company received a major boost in July, 2019 when the Trump administration said it would lift an Obama-era restriction on Pebble. Under former President Obama, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2014 proposed limits on large scale mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, citing environmental concerns. Under President Donald Trump, the EPA has dismantled scores of environmental rules.

Now, the Alaska Republican Party is saying it “unequivocally supports development of the Pebble Mine,” Northern Dynasty said in a press release.

The reasons for its support are detailed in an Alaska Republican Party resolution dated August 9, 2020. It notes that whereas the State of Alaska is seeking to overcome a significant economic recession and budget deficit, and Pebble Mine is projected to generate US$1 billion in revenue for Alaska and create 750 to 1,000 mining jobs, plus an additional 1,000 support jobs.

In its resolution, the Alaskan Republican Party estimated that the average mining wage would be US$100,000 annually and would benefit individuals in an otherwise impoverished area.

The Alaska Republican Party said the Pebble Mine has undergone the most extensive environmental impact study in Alaska’s history and the revised proposal is for a mine that is half the size of that originally proposed, with correspondingly less environmental impact.

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