If it’s that good, why isn’t Northern Dynasty Minerals already rolling in the figurative dough? Why has the road to success with the Pebble Project been such a bumpy one? Well, it all has to do with where the Pebble Project is located. The Pebble Project is located in Southwest Alaska in an area known as Bristol Bay. Unfortunately for NAK, the Bristol Bay area is highly protected by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means that you can’t simply drive heavy equipment into the area and start poking around and digging for resources.
The area is ultimately protected for a good reason. The Bristol Bay watershed is an important habitat for various species. In fact, there are 29 fish species, more than 190 bird species, and more than 40 terrestrial mammal species in the area. However, what we hear the most about when discussing NAK is the salmon.
The Bristol Bay watershed includes no hatchery fish that are raised and released, meaning that its population of Salmon is entirely wild, and there are a ton of them. Not to mention, they are overwhelmingly valuable for the Alaskan community. In fact, CNN once called the Bristol Bay Watershed the most valuable fishery in the world!
Nonetheless, NAK has worked hard to engineer plans to ensure that the environment is not threatened by breaking ground at the Pebble Project. However, for years, the EPA wouldn’t even allow the company to apply for permits, leading to a lengthy court battle. On May 12, 2017, the company announced that it had finally reached an agreement with the EPA. Under the terms of the agreement, NAK would have up to 30 months to complete the application process for permitting of the Pebble Project under the Clean Water Act. In a statement, Ron Thiessen, President and CEO at Northern Dynasty, had the following to offer:
From the outset of this unfortunate saga, we’ve asked for nothing more than fairness and due process under the law — the right to propose a development plan for Pebble and have it assessed against the robust environmental regulations and rigorous permitting requirements enforced in Alaska and the United States… Today’s settlement gives us precisely that, the same treatment every developer and investor in a stable, first world country should expect.
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