News Roundup – June 2018

Upcoming Dates of interest

June 28 – Northern Dynasty minerals Shareholder Meeting

June 29 – End of Scoping Period for 404 Wetlands permit

July 28 – Public input ends for Pebble Limited Partnership’s radio repeater permit application


Developer news

Pebble Partnership again searches for business partner to fund mine

In late May, we reported that First Quantum Minerals announced it would not exercise an option for a share in the Pebble mine project, leaving the Pebble Partnership and its parent company Northern Dynasty Minerals to again begin the search for a moneyed business associate.

There’s still no indication for why First Quantum backed out of the deal. Northern Dynasty issued a statement saying it is confident it will secure another partner and a funding source soon.

Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson of the Washington Post had an overview of the issue. Also see reports from Tim Bradner, writing for Platts, and for KDLG’s Avery Lill.

Pebble revises its mining plan

Elwood Brehmer at the Alaska Journal of Commerce has a report offering some details into Pebble’s latest revisions to its mining plan. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not believe these are major changes, although it is not yet in receipt of detailed engineering plans related to those changes. “Everything they have proposed to date is a reduction in the actual proposed impacts to aquatic resources or navigable waters,” said Corps Project Manager Shane McCoy. However, a group of several organizations in the Bristol Bay Region, along with Alaska State Representative  Bryce Edgmon believe the changes are major. “Documentation offered by the PLP to specify these changes is woefully inadequate, but it seems obvious that the mine the PLP plans is not the current one currently the subject of the scoping process.”

Read the technical report detailing changes to the original mine plan.


Permitting news

Last chance: Get your comments in on the scoping period before June 29

The final days to get your comments in on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ scoping period relation to the Environmental Impact Statement that the Corps will draft later this year.

The Corps in April extended the comment period. See our Scoping page for a final countdown, a list of public meetings that were held and links to a range of other information.

The Pebble Project EIS Preliminary Scoping Issues Report offers some insights to the Corps’ direction, and can help guide your public comments.

The scoping period began on April 1, and will help to determine the scope of analysis, significant issues, and alternatives to be analyzed in the draft EIS, according to the preliminary scoping report. This 290-page document provides public notices, maps, and other materials.


Cantwell: Corps should hold meetings in Washington re: Pebble mine

Erica Martinson with the Anchorage Daily News reported that Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell wants the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand its public meetings on the Pebble mine to include events in her state.

The Washington senator noted that her constituents should be allowed to weigh in on the proposed mine because many of them have interests and livelihoods tied up in Bristol Bay.

“Pacific Northwest fishermen, shipbuilders, suppliers, sportsmen and restaurants have built an economy around this one-of-a-kind sustainable fishery,” according to a letter Cantwell sent to the Corps.

Read Sen. Cantwell’s press release.


Wetlands, EPA and the Corps

Ariel Wittenberg of E&E News wrote a three-part series on Alaska, its wetlands and working with the Corps of Engineers that is an interesting read. Part three focuses specifically on the proposed Pebble mine.

Part one, “No offsets, no problem as Army Corps OKs wetland projects.”

Part two, “Why the Army Corps sank wetland-offset program.”

Part three, “Pebble mine foes find an unlikely friend at EPA.”