Northern Dynasty Minerals’ wholly owned subsidiary Pebble Limited Partnership has secured approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the Clean Water Act 404 permitting documentation.
Pebble Limited Partnership is planning to develop the Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry deposit in south-west Alaska.
USACE has stated that a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of the Pebble project will be carried out based on an environmental impact statement (EIS) level of analysis.
In addition, USACE has proposed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) to assist in the development of the process.
Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen said: “Pebble expects to finalise an MoA in the very near-term, and immediately distribute a ‘Request for Proposal’ to begin the process whereby the Corps will select the independent third-party contractor that will support them in the development of the Pebble EIS, the document that will be the basis for decisions made by federal permitting agencies.”
In view of stakeholder concerns, the company has made changes to the project design.
The project development footprint has been reduced to less than half the size planned previously.
Other changes include curbing primary mine operations in the Upper Talarik drainage and banning the use of cyanide.
Subject to the receipt of requisite permits, the proposed mine is expected to operate for a period of 20 years, with an average production rate of 90 million tonnes per year.
Construction is anticipated to last for four years and during this phase, the project will offer employment to around 2,000 workers.