VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Base metals miner First Quantum Minerals has signed a framework agreement with Northern Dynasty Minerals to work on formalising an option on the controversial Pebble copper/gold project, in south-east Alaska.
The announcement on Monday breathes new life into the project billed as the largest undeveloped copper/gold project in the world, and which faces strong opposition from local conservationists, Aboriginal groups and nongovernment organisations.
Under terms of the framework agreement, a subsidiary of First Quantum will sign an option agreement with Northern Dynasty and pay $150-million, staged over four years, to acquire the option to acquire half an interest in the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP) for $1.35-billion.
First Quantum will have the choice to extend the option period for up to two years by making payments to be agreed upon which amounts will be offset against the $1.35-billion additional investment amount. First Quantum will pay an early option payment of $37.5-million within five business days of signing the framework agreement to Northern Dynasty.
Northern Dynasty advised that the early option price instalment will be applied solely for the purpose of progressing the permitting of the Pebble project.
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