Northern Dynasty is focused on designing, permitting, building and operating the Pebble Project. The Company initiated permitting by the end of 2017, with a project that is smaller than previously contemplated.
Project advances to date include:
- delineation of an estimated mineral resource totalling 6.5 billion tonnes in measured and indicated and 4.5 billion tonnes in inferred categories;
- more than 10 years and over US$150 million spent on environmental and socioeconomic studies to support project design and permitting;
- technical and engineering studies for mine site facilities and project infrastructure;
- investment in workforce and business development, stakeholder consultation and community programs;
- entry into federal permitting through submission of an application for a 404 wetlands permit under the Clean Water Act, including a Project Description and the Environmental Baseline Document, which triggered an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process under the National Enviornmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The Pebble Project must satisfy permitting requirements at three levels: federal, state and local (borough). The process will involve some 11 regulatory agencies, 60+ categories of permits and significant ongoing opportunities for public involvement. This process will be led by the US Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps of Engineers”).
The first step in the permitting process is for the 404 wetlands permit, which triggered an EIS process. The EIS will be prepared by a third-party contractor under the direction of the Corps of Engineers. Pebble submitted its permit documentation in late December 2017.
In January 2018, the US Army Corps of Engineers gave notice that the Project Description was deemed complete. The Project Description is available as Attachment D on the Corps of Engineers website at http://www.poa.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices-Section-Homepage/ and subsequent changes are reflected under the heading What's New on https://pebbleprojecteis.com/ (1).
The Pebble EIS will determine whether sufficient evaluation of the project's environmental effects and development alternatives has been undertaken. It will also provide the basis for federal, state and local government agencies to make individual permitting decisions.
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources Large Mine Permitting Team is responsible for coordinating state permitting activities for large mine projects within the state.
To satisfy permitting requirements under NEPA and other regulatory statutes, the Pebble Partnership must provide:
- a comprehensive project design and operating plan for mine-site and infrastructure facilities;
- documentation of development alternatives investigated;
- mitigation and compensation strategies; and
- environmental monitoring, reclamation and closure plans.
Steps and estimated timelines for permitting are shown in the accompanying chart.
(1) As part of the EIS preparation process the Corps of Engineers will undertake a comprehensive alternatives assessment and consider a broad range of alternatives. As this process evolves, there may be temporary differences in what is shown in our disclosure and what is on the Corps of Engineers website. Also Northern Dynasty (through the Pebble Partnership) continues engineering studies and has proposed some changes which are reflected here and elsewhere on this website. Northern Dynasty cautions that this may not be the ultimate development plan for the project and remains subject to changes by Northern Dynasty (through the Pebble Partnership) and the Corps of Engineers.