Will Rio Tinto divest from Northern Dynasty Minerals?

London-based mining company Rio Tinto announced today that its 19% investment in Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. (NDM) is under review, and that it may divest. Just a week ago, Anglo American completed its own withdrawal from the Pebble Limited Partnership PLC, leaving the Canadian-based NDM as sole owner of the Pebble prospect.

Rio Tinto has been invested in the Pebble project through the shares it owns in NDM. However, it has been under pressure lately to divest, due to what Rio Tinto shareholders are calling “significant risks” posed by the Pebble project. In November, chief financial officers of two major pension funds in California and New York had urged Rio Tinto to pull out of NDM, citing risks including the potential for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to halt the project, and opposition from Alaska Native tribes and other groups.

According to news reports, NDM CEO Ron Thiessen told its shareholders this morning that he was completely surprised by Rio Tinto’s decision.

Read more

Press release from Rio Tinto

Pension funds urge Rio Tinto to cut and run from Pebble

Rio Tinto Reviews Alaska Pebble Mine Investment: Northern Dynasty Caught by Surprise