Northern Dynasty plans Pebble field program, Alaska

Diamond drilling at the Pebble copper-gold project in Alaska. Source: Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.

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Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. [NDM-TSX; NAK-NYSE American] reported its 100%-owned United States-based subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership is preparing crews and equipment for its 2022 field program at the 100%-owned Pebble project site in southwestern Alaska, with a focus on environmental management and sustainability. The Pebble deposit is located 200 miles from Anchorage and 125 miles from Bristol Bay. All currency values are presented in U.S. dollars.

The six-week helicopter-supported program is expected to begin mid-May and continue until the end of June. The main activities of the work program include site care and maintenance, including demobilization of equipment that is no longer actively being used at this time. A heavy lift helicopter will be mobilized to site for several days to facilitate the movement of the larger pieces back to the company storage yards at the town of Iliamna until they are needed for future work programs.

An old weather monitoring tower and shelter that are no longer needed due to completion of data collection at that site will be removed. Inspection and permanent closure of select drill holes where the collection of baseline hydrology data for the site has been completed. Hole collars will be removed below ground level, hole plugs will be placed below the bedrock interface, and the holes will be backfilled with grout and a cement cap. Sites will then be reclaimed and seeded as required.

Work will be completed by a five-person field team supported using a single helicopter. All field crew members and PLP’s on-site field supervisor are residents of the nearby communities of Kokhanok, Iliamna and Newhalen. Prior to commencing the program, crew members will receive three days of refresher safety training and site and helicopter orientation. All crew members are returning hires that worked on last summer’s successful field program.

Work is being conducted with support from the Alaska Peninsula Corp. and Iliamna Development Corp.

“While we continue to wait for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to advance our administrative appeal, we have another important summer work program planned to maintain and enhance our important asset,” said Ron Thiessen, Northern Dynasty president and CEO. “This work is part of our unwavering commitment to safety and sustainability at the project. While site activities planned this year have a modest budget, the Pebble partnership continues to prioritize local contracting and employment to ensure that the local economy receives the maximum benefit of this work.

“The Pebble partnership has put together a great team of local workers that is keen to get to work. Meaningful employment in this region is rare, and we are doing our part to engage as many local residents that we can. Imagine the potential for benefits in this area, with one of the highest unemployment rates in all of the U.S., when the proposed mine is allowed to go forward,” Thiessen added.

As announced February 28, 2022, the company commissioned a comprehensive study authored by IHS Markit, a leading global source of critical information and insight, entitled Economic Contribution Assessment of the Proposed Pebble Project to the U.S. national and state economies. This independent expert study provides a detailed review of the significant economic benefits the proposed Pebble project would have both nationally and at the state level, particularly for Alaskans.

Subject to permitting, and as detailed in the IHS Markit report, the year 5 potential expansion scenario is estimated to generate about 12,500 high-paying jobs during the initial capital period and approximately 13,000 jobs during the operations phase, over half of which are expected to be filled by Alaskans. Under the year 5 potential expansion scenario during the operations phase, annual state and local taxes are estimated to average $262-million and the gross domestic product (GDP) increase for Alaska is estimated to average $720-million per year, which equates to approximately $1,000 per Alaskan.

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