Pebble project

Anglo American (US) Pebble (AA Pebble) has decided to withdraw from the Pebble copper project in Alaska, US.

The decision from AA Pebble, the US subsidiary of mining firm Anglo American, follows a notice which was given under the Pebble limited partnership agreement signed in 2007 with Canadian exploration and development firm Northern Dynasty Minerals.

The project is being developed by the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP), a 50:50 partnership between Anglo American and an affiliate of Northern Dynasty Minerals.

PLP will now proceed under the sole ownership of Northern Dynasty following AA Pebble’s withdrawal.

Anglo American chief executive officer Mark Cutifani said that despite the company’s belief that Pebble is a deposit of rare magnitude and quality, it has taken the decision to withdraw following a thorough assessment of its pipeline of long-dated project options.

"Our focus has been to prioritise capital to projects with the highest value and lowest risks within our portfolio, and reduce the capital required to sustain such projects during the pre-approval phases of development as part of a more effective, value-driven capital allocation model," Cutifani said.

AA Pebble had invested around $540m in the Pebble project by June 2013 and faces a $300m penalty for withdrawing from the project.

The Pebble project is situated in the Bristol Bay region in south-west Alaska, about 200 miles from Anchorage.

It is a green field project based on a copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry deposit, which is considered to be the largest deposit of its kind in the world.

Exploration drilling has suggested 80.6 billion pounds of copper, 5.6 billion pounds of molybdenum and 107.4 million ounces of gold at Pebble.

A 400MW natural gas fired power plant is planned to be built at the mine site.

Image: The Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum Project is located in the Bristol Bay region of south-western Alaska.