TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The proponent of one of the largest undeveloped minerals resources left in the world, on Thursday said the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) final version of its Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment (BBWA) was “really the final chapter in a very sad story”.
TSX-listed Northern Dynasty Minerals, which has high hopes for developing the Pebble copper/gold/molybdenum project, in Alaska, said that while it acknowledged the EPA’s final published version of the BBWA, it believed that the EPA set out to do a flawed analysis of the project.
“Publication of the final watershed assessment is really the final chapter in a very sad story,” Northern Dynasty president and CEO Ron Thiessen said.
The company said that the EPA released drafts of the watershed assessment in May 2012, and April 2013, to widespread criticism about the report’s flawed methodology and findings, including from the state of Alaska, Alaska Native groups and expert peer reviewers commissioned by the federal agency.
“Throughout the process of completing the BBWA, EPA has repeatedly failed to meet its own guidelines and policies for watershed assessments, risk assessment and peer review, and violated the US Information Quality Act,” the company charged.
Thiessen said the final BBWA report did not include any recommendations or regulatory actions that would affect future development of the Pebble project.
“We look forward to defining a proposed development plan for Pebble and to having it reviewed by federal and state regulatory agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the months and years ahead.
“We have every expectation that the Environmental Impact Statement process required by NEPA, to be administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers, will ultimately provide a much more rigorous, fair and transparent review of the science surrounding this important project,” Thiessen said.
Global miner Rio Tinto in December said it was considering selling its stake in Northern Dynasty. Rio owns a 19.1% stake in Northern Dynasty through a subsidiary, making it the largest single investor.
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