North of 60 Mining News - The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

Pebble vows to appeal mine permit denial

Says Army Corps' ROD decision inconsistent with EIS findings North of 60 Mining News – December 4, 2020

 

Last updated 12/10/2020 at 5:42pm

Pebble Partnership Mine rod Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. Ron Thiessen

Pebble Limited Partnership

A view across the Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum-silver-rhenium deposit in Southwest Alaska.

Contending that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to deny the major federal permit needed to develop the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska goes against the record established during the permitting process, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. Intends to pursue every appeal available to set the record straight.

"It is our view that this decision, the process by which it was reached and the facts upon which it is based stand as a significant outlier from standard USACE precedent and practice. We believe there is a sound basis for this permitting decision to be overturned," said Northern Dynasty Minerals President and CEO Ron Thiessen.

In a record of decision issued on Nov. 25, the Army Corps denied Pebble a dredge and fill permit under the Clean Water Act on the grounds that the Pebble Limited Partnership's compensatory mitigation plan is not compliant with federal law and the proposed copper-gold-molybdenum-silver-rhenium mine project in Southwest Alaska is not in the public interest.

Now, the Pebble Partnership has 60 days to submit its application for administrative appeal to Army Corps' Pacific Ocean Division headquartered in Hawaii.

"We will take a significant proportion of the time allotted to us to complete an exhaustive review of the administrative record pertinent to the Pebble project environmental impact statement and ROD, to prepare a comprehensive and substantive appeal and submit an RFA (request for appeal) to the division engineer," Thiessen said.

Northern Dynasty contends that Army Corps' record of decision – in particular, the public interest review findings upon which it is based – are fundamentally unsupported by the findings in the final environmental impact statement the agency published on the Pebble mine project earlier this year.

In a public interest review supporting its decision not to approve the dredge and fill permit, Army Corps contends that the proposed Pebble Mine's potential negative effects on hunting, fishing and the environment in the Bristol Bay region do not outweigh the "speculative" economic benefits of the operation.

Pebble Partnership copper gold Mine Alaska Northern Dynasty Minerals Thiessen

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Northern Dynasty points out that Army Corps' record of decision for Pebble is based on a public interest review that is often at odds with the findings in the final EIS for the mine project.

Northern Dynasty points out that Army Corps' record of decision is often at odds with a final EIS that determined a mine at the world-class Pebble deposit is not expected to impact subsistence harvest levels; would not result in a measurable change in the number of returning salmon; would increase job opportunities and lower the cost of living in the region; generate $27 million annually in taxes for the Lake and Peninsula Borough; and generate $25 million annually in state taxes through construction, and $84 million annually in state taxes and royalty payments during operations.

"We believe the Pebble project as proposed can meet the high environmental standards enforced in the Clean Water Act and other federal statutes, including co-existing with the world-class subsistence, commercial and sport fisheries of Bristol Bay," Thiessen said. "Perhaps more importantly in the near-term, we believe the findings of the record of decision released by the USACE last week are both inconsistent with, and in places wholly contradictory to, the administrative record established for federal permitting decisions at pebble by the final EIS published in July 2020."

Pebble Partnership has until Jan. 24 to submit its request for appeal.

"We believe the facts are on our side, and we intend to pursue every avenue of appeal available to the company with vigor and determination," said Thiessen.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

Over his more than 13 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (907) 726-1095
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