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$91 million work program underway to prepare Pebble Project for permitting in 2012


May 02, 2011

(SitNews) Vancouver - Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. announced today that the Pebble Limited Partnership Board of Directors has approved program expenditures of US $91 million in 2011, with the objective of completing a Prefeasibility Study for the Pebble Project located in southwest Alaska in 2012, and to initiate permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

"Upon reaching commercial production, Pebble would become one of the world's leading producers of copper, gold and molybdenum as well as a tremendous driver of economic wealth and opportunity in Alaska and the United States," said Northern Dynasty President and CEO Ron Thiessen.

"Given its national and global importance, the Pebble Partnership has been very deliberate, methodical and patient in designing a project that will meet and exceed the exacting environmental regulations and permitting requirements in Alaska, while delivering superior returns for shareholders. I'm pleased to report that this project design process is nearing important milestones and that PLP intends to enter the permitting phase towards the end of 2012. "

In February 2011, Northern Dynasty released a positive Preliminary Assessment for the Pebble Copper-Gold-Molybdenum Project in southwest Alaska, completed by Wardrop, a Tetra Tech Company. The Preliminary Assessment confirmed Pebble to be a technically and economically robust project with the potential to produce 53 billion pounds in copper, 50 million ounces in gold and 2.8 billion pounds of molybdenum over 78 years, while developing just 55% of the known mineral resource.

Activities to be undertaken at the Pebble Project in 2011 include:

  • engineering to complete a Prefeasibility Study (PFS) project design in 2012;
  • environmental studies to support PFS engineering, finalize an Environmental Baseline Document in preparation for project permitting, develop a mine closure and reclamation plan, prepare a full suite of environmental and social management plans, and continue environmental monitoring studies in key areas;
  • site investigations, including 45,000 feet of drilling to support PFS engineering, as well as a geotechnical drill program and support for environmental and public affairs initiatives; and,
  • stakeholder engagement and public affairs programming, including workforce and business development, local community relations, public education and community investment.

Since the Pebble Partnership was established in 2007, Anglo American has invested approximately US $320 million to advance engineering, environmental and socioeconomic studies toward the completion of a Prefeasibility Study for the Pebble Project. Budgeted spending in 2011 will increase Anglo American's total investment in the Pebble Project to more than US $410 million.

Prior to completion of a Prefeasibility Study, the Pebble Partnership is expected to undertake a broad-based public consultation program to update Alaskans and other project stakeholders on the status of project planning, including environmental safeguards, economic benefits and partnership opportunities. This public consultation initiative is scheduled to begin this year.

"The Pebble Partnership has made a public commitment to consult the people of Bristol Bay and Alaska before permitting is initiated as part of the process of developing a proposed mine plan for Pebble," Northern Dynasty President and CEO Ron Thiessen confirmed. "That important work will begin this year, along with efforts to advance partnership agreements with Alaska Native corporations and other interests for development of key project infrastructure."

"As we move toward commencement of project permitting, Alaskans and all project stakeholders will get much greater insight into how this project will be built and operated so as to protect fish, water and other important natural resources, while providing significant benefits to Alaskans and the Native people of the region," said Thiessen.

The Pebble Project is an initiative of the Pebble Partnership to develop a globally important copper, gold and molybdenum deposit in southwest Alaska into a modern, long-life mine according to a news release. The project is located 200 miles southwest of Anchorage on state land designated for mineral exploration and development. It is situated approximately 1,000 feet above sea-level, 65 miles from tidewater on Cook Inlet and presents favourable conditions for successful mine site and infrastructure development.

The Pebble Project consists of the Pebble deposit, surrounding mineral claims and a stream of financing provided by Northern Dynasty's project partner Anglo American US (Pebble) LLC. The Pebble Partnership was established in July 2007 as a 50:50 partnership between a wholly-owned affiliate of Northern Dynasty and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anglo American plc. Both Northern Dynasty and Anglo American have equal and identical rights of management, operatorship and control in the Pebble Partnership.

Under the terms of the Pebble Limited Partnership Agreement, Anglo American is required to fund $1.5 billion in staged investments in order to retain its 50% interest in the Pebble Project. Funds provided by Anglo American are currently being invested in comprehensive exploration, engineering, environmental and socioeconomic programs toward the future development of the Pebble Project.

Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. is a mineral exploration and development company based in Vancouver, Canada, with indirect interests in 592 square miles of mineral claims in southwest Alaska. Northern Dynasty's principal asset is a 50% interest in the Pebble Limited Partnership which is the owner of the Pebble Copper-Gold-Molybdenum Project. The Pebble Project is an advanced-stage initiative to develop one of the most important mineral resources in the world.


Source of News: 

Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.


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