Draft EIS for Alaska’s Pebble Project Moves Forward

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Pebble Project, a proposed open-pit mine in southwest Alaska, has been released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and now moves on to the next phase, public review and comment. Northern Dynasty is the owner of the Pebble Partnership (PLP) and began the permitting process at the end of 2017.

The PLP said it believes it demonstrated that the proposed 20-year mine development plan for the Pebble deposit can be done in an environmentally responsible manner. “Our preliminary review of the Draft EIS shows no major data gaps or substantive impacts that cannot be appropriately mitigated,” said PLP CEO Tom Collier. “We see no significant environmental challenges that would preclude the project from getting a permit and this shows Alaska stakeholders that there is a clear path forward for this project that could potentially generate significant economic activity, tax revenue and thousands of jobs.”

Collier said the PLP team will undertake an extensive technical review of the Draft EIS to develop the company’s formal comments, expected to be submitted near the end of the public comment window. Collier added that since the document is a draft he fully expects substantive comments from a range of project stakeholders while emphasizing that there do not appear to be any major hurdles. “Since this is our first chance to see what the Corps has evaluated, I fully expect a few bumps along the way before we conclude this process,” Collier said. “This is what reviewing a draft is all about. While we have a lot of work remaining in front of us, this is clearly a very exciting time for the project as we have reached a significant milestone for Pebble.”

In December 2017, PLP submitted its application with the Corps to initiate permitting for the mine development plan for the Pebble Deposit. The project has a smaller footprint, has no major mine facilities in the Upper Talarik drainage, and will not use cyanide for secondary gold recovery, the company said.

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 03 - www.womp-int.com