Vol. 22, No. 53 Week of December 31, 2017
Providing coverage of Alaska and Northwest Canada's mineral industry

Mining News: Pebble Mine permits submitted

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Shane Lasley

Mining News

The Pebble Partnership Dec. 22 submitted permit applications for the Pebble Mine project to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, initiating the project review process under the National Environmental Policy Act. With roughly 56.8 billion pounds copper, 70.4 million ounces gold, 3.4 billion lb molybdenum and 343.6 million oz silver in measured and indicated resource, Pebble hosts both the largest undeveloped copper and undeveloped gold resource on Earth. While a deposit of this size lends itself to an equally world-class sized mining operation, the project submitted for permitting is relatively modest in size.

“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. We have listened to our stakeholders, supporters, and skeptics, and are presenting a much smaller mine with enhanced environmental safeguards,” said Pebble CEO Tom Collier. In response to stakeholder concerns, the Pebble Partnership has also chosen not to use cyanide for secondary gold recovery and is keeping the mining infrastructure out of the Upper Talarik Creek drainage, a region noted for its salmon habitat. While a detailed project description has not yet been published, some of the new project design elements include: • a 20 year mine-life; • a mine site footprint of 5.9 square miles; • a tailings storage facility with enhanced environmental safeguards, a buttress on the embankment and segregated pyritic tailings in a separate, lined storage facility; • a power plant fueled by natural gas from a pipeline extending from the Kenai Peninsula across Cook Inlet to the Project site with compressor stations on the Kenai Peninsula and at a port facility to be constructed at Amakdedori on the west side of Cook Inlet; • an 83-mile transportation corridor from the mine site to a year-round port site located on Cook Inlet at Amakdedori that includes a 30-mile road from the mine site to a ferry terminal on the north shore of Iliamna Lake, an 18-mile lake crossing utilizing an ice breaking ferry to the south shore of Iliamna Lake, and a 35-mile private double-lane road to the Amakdedori Port; and • spur roads from the transportation corridor to the communities of Iliamna, Newhalen and Kokhanok. Collier said the permitting process is the correct place to evaluate an important Alaska asset such as Pebble. “The Pebble resource is on state of Alaska land and could generate hundreds of millions in annual economic activity for Alaska as well as generating revenues for state and local governments. It could also provide much needed year-round jobs for Southwest Alaska. As such, all Alaskans have a stake in knowing whether we can safely and responsibly operate a mine at Pebble and the place to determine this is through the rigorous permitting process,” said Collier. Once the Army Corps of Engineers has determined the sufficiency of Pebble’s application package, the Pebble Partnership will publish a detailed project description on its website. The submission of permit applications to develop a mine at Pebble completes the three major milestones Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., owner of the Pebble Partnership, set out to achieve this year. "At the outset of 2017, we established three ambitious corporate objectives for Northern Dynasty and the Pebble

Project," said Northern Dynasty President and CEO Ron Thiessen. "We committed to reaching a resolution with the US Environmental Protection Agency to restore the Pebble Project to normal course permitting, to re-partnering on the Pebble Project and to initiating permitting under NEPA. As we approach the end of the year, I'm proud to report that we will hit our mark on all three important milestones."

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