30 March 2016
Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) continues its legal wrangling with the Environmental Protection Agency, hoping to invalidate the agency’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and block its attempts to use Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to finalize protections related to large-scale mining at the Pebble deposit.
Litigation began in 2014, and has temporarily shut down the EPA’s 404(c) process.
Cost of the ongoing litigation is in the millions, with parent company Northern Dynasty Minerals (NDM) continuing to raise funds by acquiring junior mining companies with ready cash and releasing special warrants (to be converted to NDM shares). In a recent filing with Canadian Securities, NDM noted that it will “seek to source significant financing” due to the recent devaluation of the Canadian dollar, the fact the legal expenditures “may exceed current budget expectations,” and that the company need funds for engineering and technical expenses.
In January, NDM CEO Ron Thiessen spoke at an investor’s conference about the outlook for Pebble, saying that PLP has enough funds to continue its litigation against the EPA. He told the group he’s confident that the EPA issue will be resolved by the end of the year, leaving PLP free to initiate federal and state permitting.
PLP hopes to attract another partner, and Thiessen reported that major mining companies and Chinese investors are reviewing terabytes of documents the company has made available in an online data room.
However, EPA is also interested in PLP’s documents, and has requested Federal Judge H. Russel Holland to force the company to turn over those related to its mine plan, financials and more. This suggests that Thiessen’s anticipated resolution with the EPA may not be as speedy as predicted.