The Pebble Partnership is focusing on legal battles this year, even as it searches for a new investor. Recent news includes parent company Northern Dynasty's effort to raise funds to pay for the legal efforts, which are targeted toward the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its 404(c) process. In other mining news, Imperial Metals hopes to restart operations at the Mount Polley mine in British Columbia, where a tailings storage facility failed last August.
Imperial Metals requests to partly restart Mount Polley mine (Mining.com, Jan. 18, 2015)
Imperial Metals has submitted a plan for restarting operations at its copper and gold mine near Likely, British Columbia, but the government says it will not approve the plan until it has the results of an independent investigation into the August tailings breach that shut Mount Polley mine down and ultimately discharged an estimated 2.6 billion gallons of waste water and 1.3 billion cubic yards of tailings into the watershed.
Battle-tested Pebble CEO earned his chops as Clinton Interior official (E&E Publishing, Jan. 16, 2015)
E&E Publishing features the Pebble Partnership's new CEO Tom Collier in this piece, who is "confident that we're going to end up with a new partner." Among other details, the story reveals that Collier has rekindled his interest in salmon fishing, and that a Barbados-based firm now stands to control about 15 percent of Northern Dynasty's stock.
Northern Dynasty raises funds for Pebble Mine operations, legal fight (Alaska Dispatch News, Jan. 14, 2015)
The Associated Press reports that Northern Dynasty has raised $13 million from the sale of shares. The funds are needed to help with operating costs and the company's legal battle with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Pebble critics laud oil-gas drilling ban (North of 60 Mining News, Jan. 11, 2015)
President Obama's ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in Bristol Bay draws praise from environmental groups and new calls for similar protections for Pebble waterways.
In late November Federal Judge H. Russel Holland ordered a preliminary injunction to halt the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 404(c) proceedings related to the Pebble deposit in Bristol Bay until he rules on the merits of a lawsuit the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) brought against the agency. Afterward, EPA attorneys interpreted the ruling as allowing at least internal work on the process. However, last week Judge Holland clarified his instructions in a Case Status order, writing that, "Defendants may not engage in any activities related to the 404(c) process."
This order stands until after the court has ruled on the merits of PLP’s case that alleges EPA violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) during the process of developing the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, a document which informed its decision to pursue 404(c) protections at the Pebble deposit area in Bristol Bay.
The same Case Status set out the timeline for proceeding with the FACA case, as follows:
By Dec. 19, 2014 - PLP to submit an amended complaint (the Judge requested a much shorter version)
By Jan., 2015 - EPA to file a motion to dismiss (EPA already filed a motion to dismiss, but needs to revise it based on the amended complaint)
By Feb. 17, 2015 - PLP to file its opposition to the motion to dismiss
By March 6, 2015 - EPA will reply in support of the motion to dismiss
TBA - a hearing on the motion to dismiss will be scheduled after the court has reviewed the motion.
EPA staff had been in the process of reviewing more than 671,000 public comments submitted on its Proposed Determination, with next steps--either a Recommended Determination or withdrawal of the Proposed Determination--possible by Feb. 4, 2015. The judge’s ruling delays this work until late spring or early summer.
U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland has granted a preliminary injunction that temporarily stops the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from proceeding with a 404(c) process that could result in restrictions at the Pebble deposit.
The preliminary injunction relates to a civil suit the Pebble Limited Partnership filed in early September alleging EPA violated both the Federal
About Pebble Watch
Pebble Watch is an impartial, educational and fact-based initiative of the BBNC Land Department to disseminate information regarding the proposed Pebble Mine project to BBNC shareholders and interested parties.