Northern Dynasty slams EPA’s mine waste proposal

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Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. (NDM-TSX, NAK-NYSE) on Friday 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.

On Friday, 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“We still firmly believe that the proposed determination should have been withdrawn as it is based on indefensible legal and non-scientific assumptions,’’ he said.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.’”

“Those who think we can build a green energy economy in this country and stop mining at the same time are living in a fantasy world. I suspect that the Chinese are laughing at the U.S. for making it so easy for China to become the ‘OPEC’ of producing minerals critical for the world economy. We have witnessed the situation unfolding in Europe which is the direct result of their being dependant on an unfriendly country for essential resources, and yet, for no good reason, the U.S. is heading down a similar path for these critical minerals.’’

Shively went on to say 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. “EPA’s speculation about impacts is not the same as demonstrating impacts will occur and is not a valid reason for issuing a veto.’’

On December 1, 2022, Northern Dynasty shares closed at 33.5 cents and currently trade in a 52-week range of 65 cents and 31 cents.

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