[Alaska Mining] Owner, Former Mining Exec Spar Over Pebble Mine’s Economics – by Stephen Lee (Bloomberg News – April 2, 2019)


  • Richard Borden, longtime Rio Tinto employee, says Pebble can’t be profitable
  • Pebble says Borden biased, paid by environmental group

The owners of the planned Pebble Mine in Alaska are firing back against a longtime mining executive who raised eyebrows when he said the project would lose $3 billion over its 20-year lifespan.

Richard Borden’s prediction that the mine would produce only a small amount of low-grade minerals has sparked controversy because he admits he was paid by an environmental group to write his analysis, even though he is widely seen as pro-business after spending 23 years at British mining giant Rio Tinto Plc.

Borden’s prognosis could scare off potential Pebble investors at a time when the company appears to be trying to raise funds. Twice in the last month, the firm has sold large blocks of shares, saying it needed the money to fund an environmental impact study and for “enhanced outreach and engagement with political and regulatory offices.”

Borden also told Bloomberg Environment he thinks his findings, based on publicly-available information, constitute sufficient reason for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extend the 90-day comment period now ticking on the agency’s draft environmental impact statement for the mine.

Borden sent his conclusions to the Corps in a March 28 letter. John Budnik, a Corps spokesman, said the agency couldn’t respond to the letter because its key personnel are attending public meetings on a draft environmental impact statement in Alaska.

For the rest of this article: https://news.bloombergenvironment.com/environment-and-energy/owner-former-mining-exec-spar-over-pebble-mines-economics