Pebble Mine Company Gets A Financial Boost Despite Project’s Uncertainty

The Pebble Mine project has suffered through a rough extended stretch, including scandals and a shakeup within the organization, the 360-degree turn by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that denied a pending permit the organization had tentatively approved much earlier, to a new push for the Environmental Protection Agency to implement permanent Bristol Bay protections, to most recently, a fire on a portion of the Pebble site that destroyed equipment.

But key Pebble partner Northern Dynasty Minerals did get a financial boost in the form of a $9.4 million investment (and perhaps a lot more) from an undisclosed source. Here’s more from Alaska Public Media:

Odds seem slim that the mine breaks ground in the foreseeable future.

Despite all this, the new investor signed an agreement for even greater potential investment over a two-year period — up to $47 million in total, according to Mike Westerlund, vice president of investor relations for Northern Dynasty Minerals.

Westerlund said the investor is a private asset management company and that Northern Dynasty won’t provide the investor’s name because of the treatment previous partners have faced.

“We found in the past that many of the ENGO [Environmental Non-Governmental Organization] community will use this information to wage public campaigns against our investors, which doesn’t seem fair to me or reasonable even, but they try to pressure them and they try to block them, etc., and make life unpleasant for them. So we’re just choosing not to release their name at this time,” he said.

In a press release, Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen had this to say:

“It has become clear to us that to develop a world-class mineral deposit like Pebble requires time, patience and sufficient liquidity to successfully navigate the established legal process and continue ongoing efforts to work with the people in the region,” said Ron Thiessen, Northern Dynasty President and CEO. “This financing, when completed, also gives us the financial wherewithal to keep fighting against what we consider to be unfounded interference by U.S. Federal Government agencies in an otherwise well-established, legal permitting process, as well as to deal with challenges from well-funded parties from outside the area that lack scientific or other factual studies to support their opposition.”

And more Northern Dynasty executive comments:

“It was important to us that we improve our liquidity without issuing equity at what we consider depressed prices. We are pleased to reach an agreement that can raise significant capital over the next two years in return for the right to buy a small portion of future, non-core gold and silver production from the Proposed Project, while keeping 100% of the copper production,” added Adam Chodos, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development.

“As I have said many times before, a large amount of copper is critical for the generation and transmission of electricity, and we believe the world needs to develop the few world-class copper assets that have been discovered in order to have any chance of meeting its green energy goals,” said Mr. Thiessen. “We are also convinced that the Pebble Project has been designed – and can be built and operated – safely, without harming the environment or the fishery, as clearly outlined in the Final Environmental Impact Statement of July 2020. The Pebble Project represents an enormous amount of value, both to Alaskans and to the rest of the U.S., and we believe that value should increase significantly as the expected supply/demand imbalance leads to future copper price increases.”