ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – U.S. regulators formally launched a review process on Friday that could produce a permit a Canadian mining group needs to build the Pebble Mine copper and gold project in southwest Alaska, which is opposed by environmentalists.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency that regulates the development and dredging of wetlands, has published the completed permit application from the Pebble Limited Partnership on its website.
The application will trigger a formal environmental review of the plan to build an open-pit mine in a region with the world’s biggest sockeye salmon runs.
The proposal to build the mine is moving forward under President Donald Trump, a champion of increased domestic mining, after the Environmental Protection Agency under former President Barack Obama attempted to put the region off limits to large-scale metals mining in 2014.
Backers of the project say it could create 2,000 construction jobs and 850 jobs during operations. The Pebble Limited Partnership, comprising Canadian miners Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd and First Quantum Minerals Ltd, expects the full review to take three to five years, said spokesman Mike Heatwole.