Mr. Ronald Thiessen reports
NORTHERN DYNASTY RESPONDS TO SENATOR MARIA CANTWELL
Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.
has commented on recent statements from U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
regarding the company's comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) draft Bristol Bay watershed assessment (BBWA) report in
2012 and the company's disclosure of its 2011 preliminary economic
assessment of the Pebble gold-copper project.
In a July, 2012, news release, Northern Dynasty stated that the draft
(BBWA) assessment evaluated the potential effects of a hypothetical
mine scenario as determined by the EPA, even though this scenario
could not be permitted under federal and state law." Ms. Cantwell
has expressed concerns to the effect that Northern Dynasty may be
"misleading investors" because Northern Dynasty is pointing out that
the preliminary economic assessment was not the actual basis for the
EPA's hypothetical model. While the preliminary economic assessment
presented a potential mine development scenario at Pebble, it was not
intended to include all the mine design information and mitigating
measures (as required for permitting) that would have allowed for a
detailed assessment by the EPA. According to statements by the EPA, the
preliminary economic assessment formed some part of the input into the
draft Bristol Bay watershed assessment (BBWA) report in 2012.
"Senator Cantwell's concerns have no basis in fact," said Ron Thiessen, president and chief executive officer of Northern Dynasty. "While the EPA may have used some of the information presented in our
preliminary economic assessment to create a hypothetical mining
scenario, it is the EPA alone that is responsible for designing and
then assessing the effects of the hypothetical mine in the BBWA. To
suggest that Northern Dynasty is responsible for the EPA's hypothetical
project which was evaluated in the EPA's draft BBWA when we had no
involvement with the report is wrong."
Mr. Thiessen pointed out that:
Northern Dynasty's 2011 preliminary economic assessment presents
Northern Dynasty's view of a potential development plan for the Pebble
project at a conceptual level only for the purpose of broadly
evaluating project economics. The preliminary economic evaluation
presents no detailed engineering, no environmental management plans, no
fisheries mitigation considerations or other strategies for managing
potential environmental effects.
Many of the environmental consequences predicted in the EPA's draft
Bristol Bay watershed assessment are unrelated to the project concept
presented in Northern Dynasty's preliminary economic assessment. For
instance, the EPA's tailings embankment design, and its road building,
culvert and pipeline design standards were derived from other sources,
yet contribute to some of the most significant impacts predicted in the
Northern Dynasty's preliminary economic assessment and related U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
disclosure filings meet all applicable legal standards in the United
States and Canada. Mr. Thiessen also noted that the Pebble LP continues to study the
optimal design for permitting, building and operating an
environmentally sound and socially responsible mine at Pebble.
"We remain committed to supporting PLP as it advances the Pebble project
through an unprecedented process of scientific study and meaningful
stakeholder engagement," Mr. Thiessen said. "It is unfortunate that the SEC has been wrongfully involved in this
Alaska permitting issue, but it will not disrupt the commitment PLP has
made to the people of Alaska to submit a sustainable mine plan that
co-exists with healthy fisheries and traditional ways of life."
About the Pebble project
The Pebble project is an initiative of PLP to responsibly develop a
globally significant copper, gold and molybdenum deposit in southwest
Alaska into a modern, long-life mine. 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
The Pebble project consists of the Pebble deposit, surrounding mineral
claims and a stream of financing being provided by Northern Dynasty's
project partner Anglo American U.S. (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 ownership and direction of the Pebble partnership.
Under the terms of the Pebble LP agreement, Anglo
American is required to elect to commit $1.5-billion in staged
investments in order to retain its 50-per-cent interest in the Pebble project.
Funds provided by Anglo American are currently being invested in
comprehensive exploration, engineering, environmental and socio-economic
programs toward the future development of the Pebble project.
We seek Safe Harbor.
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