TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The proponent of the controversial Pebble copper/gold project, in Alaska, one of the largest undeveloped projects in the world, is taking advantage of US President Donald Trump’s pro-development agenda and has appointed regulatory and permitting consultant HDR Alaska to start the federal and state permitting processes for the megaproject.
Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty on Wednesday said HDR would start preparing the necessary documentation to initiate permitting under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by the end of the year, in anticipation of success for Northern Dynasty in its implementation of a multidimensional strategy to address the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) preemptive regulatory veto under Section 404(c) of the CWA.
"We expect to be making further announcements in the weeks and months ahead about our 2017 field programme and the work required to prepare the project to initiate permitting. We're very pleased the project is moving forward and that we're in a position to begin to re-hire local residents and Alaska firms that have contributed so much to Pebble's advancements in years past,” Pebble Partnership president and CEO Tom Collier stated.
HDR has provided environmental and technical consulting services to Northern Dynasty and the Pebble Partnership since 2004, with a specific focus on wetlands, water, aquatic habitat and fish studies as presented in the C$150-million, 27 000-page Pebble Environmental Baseline Document published in 2012. In its current role, HDR will continue to undertake select environmental baseline field studies and analysis at Pebble, but will also provide strategic regulatory guidance to the Pebble Partnership as it finalises the engineering design, environmental planning and documentation required to file a CWA 404 permit application with the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The Pebble Partnership intends to also retain other engineering, environmental and regulatory consultants and experts to support the project's 2017 work programme and NEPA permitting requirements over the next several years.
The company’s TSX-listed stock has rallied in recent months, as investors speculate the project will go ahead under the Trump administration.