Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. [NDM-TSX; NAK-NYSE MKT] reported that its 100%-owned US subsidiary – Pebble Limited Partnership – has received notice of approval of a Miscellaneous Land Use Permit (MLUP) from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for its ongoing activities at the Pebble Project in southwest Alaska.
“The Alaska Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies have had an active oversight presence at the Pebble Project site for more than a decade, and have confirmed that Pebble is a well-managed exploration project,” said Tom Collier, Pebble Partnership CEO. “We will continue our site operations in 2017 in full compliance with the State’s permit conditions, and in a manner that protects the broader public interest in the lands and resources surrounding the Pebble property.”
The Pebble Partnership is in the process of reviewing in detail the state land use permit received today. However, Collier confirmed Pebble will be advancing a program of work in Alaska in 2017 to prepare the project to initiate permitting under the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act.
Given the extensive work undertaken at the Pebble Project over the past decade or more, and anticipated future activity, the 2017 MLUP includes a requirement for a performance guaranty in the amount of $2 million related to any potential reclamation liability.
The Pebble Partnership maintains an operations base in Iliamna, Alaska with full-time staff responsible for care and maintenance of Pebble Project equipment, facilities and installations. Each year, Pebble staff undertake a program of inspections, and where necessary make repairs to ensure public safety and enhance reclamation, at the 1,300+ borehole sites on the property.
The Pebble Project is one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits. The current resource estimate includes 6.44 billion tonnes in the measured and indicated categories containing 57 billion lb copper, 70 million oz gold, 3.4 billion lb molybdenum and 344 million oz silver; and 4.46 billion tonnes in the inferred category, containing 24.5 billion lb copper, 37 million oz gold, 2.2 billion lb molybdenum and 170 million oz silver(1). Quantities of palladium and rhenium also occur in the deposit.
The project is located on land that the State of Alaska secured during the Cook Inlet Land Exchange of 1974 – a three-way land swap involving the federal government, the state and the Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI), an Alaska native regional corporation. The State of Alaska secured land including what is now Pebble, explicitly for its mineral potential.
Over US $750 million has been invested in the Pebble Project. This includes US $573 million invested by Anglo American from 2007-2013. An independent study concluded that, conceptually, the Pebble Mine could generate 15,000 jobs and $2.7 billion of GDP annually.
On April 13, shares of Northern Dynasty were trading at $2.28.