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Alaska Pebble Mine project kicks off permitting process

Mining News - Published on Wed, 27 Dec 2017

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Reuters reported that would be developer of the widely opposed Pebble Mine copper and gold project in salmon rich southwestern Alaska announced it will file its first application for a permit. The application is a milestone for a project that seemed dead during the Obama administration. Now it is moving forward under President Donald Trump, a champion of increased domestic mining.

The Pebble Limited Partnership led by Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd said it will submit an application Friday to the US Army Corps of Engineers for a wetlands-fill permit, a key authorization required under the Clean Water Act.

Mr Tom Collier, chief executive of the Pebble partnership, said in a statement that "For the Pebble team, this day has been a long time in the making and is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work.”

Pebble Mine, proposed for more than a decade, is the world's biggest undeveloped gold and copper project. Located in Alaska's Bristol Bay region, the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery, it has drawn opposition from environmentalists, some native groups and sport fishermen.

The Obama era Environmental Protection Agency had blocked the project in 2014 even before a permit application had been filed, a move reversed by the current EPA this year.

The permit application announcement comes three days after the partnership said it gained a new member, First Quantum Minerals, the world's eighth-biggest copper producer, which will acquire an option to buy a 50 % stake in the project for USD 1.5 billion.

For four years, the partnership had been limited to Northern Dynasty, whose previous partner, Anglo American, dropped out in 2013.

Northern Dynasty outlined a scaled-back plan for the mine to address concerns about the salmon fishery, reducing its footprint and announcing no primary mine operations would be located in the Upper Talarik watershed.

Mr Collier said that "Not only are we confident that Pebble as currently envisaged will secure development permits from federal, state and local regulatory agencies, we are confident it will co-exist with the world-class fisheries of Bristol Bay."

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 27 Dec 2017
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