Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. (NAK) stock prices were up 1.56% as of the market closing on June 3rd, 2021, bringing the price per share up to USD$0.5735 at the end of the trading day. Subsequent current market fluctuations saw the stock rise by 0.61%, bringing it up to USD$0.58.
Pebble’s Letter to EPA
After the news of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) having appointed a new administrator, Pebble Limited Partnership (Pebble) recently sent a letter to the new EPA Administrator. The letter highlighted the federal permitting process since it commenced in December 2017 and charted the course it took over an intensive and extensive review spanning two and a half years.
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The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), published in July of 2020 by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), has been identified by NAK as the most accurate and objective assessment of the Pebble Project. The EIS reported that the Pebble Project would facilitate significant socioeconomic contributions to the communities it would operate in, with no realistic detriment to the water and wildlife.
Negative Record of Decision
Despite this, the USACE issued a negative Record of Decision (ROD) in November 2020 in regard to the Pebble Project. Since then, Pebble has commenced an administrative appeal of the decision, citing the USACE’s own EIS report from earlier in the year. The new EPA administrator is being urged to protect Pebble’s rights that entitle it to due process under the law, with claims that a negative decision is both inconsistent with the evidence and, therefore, contrary to the law.
Definitive Pros and Uncertain Cons
Improvements in health, education, and infrastructure are just some of the benefits associated with the Pebble Project, with operations forecasted to result in lower costs of living for local residents. While the USACE has insinuated the diminishing of subsistence activities, and an adverse effect on water quality and waterlife (among other post-closure detriments), NAK argues these claims are insubstantial. The company challenges these claims as being inconsistent with EIS findings and propose that post-closure issues are less detriments than they are returns to normal baseline conditions.
The RFA submitted by Pebble has been accepted by the USACE as of February 2021, and a Review officer has been appointed to oversee the appeal process. While the process usually takes 90 days, the USACE anticipates Pebble’s appeal taking longer because of the complexity of issues and the sheer volume of relevant materials.
Future Outlook for NAK
Given the complexity of the situation and the sheer evidence involved, the timeline of the resolution of the Pebble project has been rife with uncertainty. The company is confident that it will be resolved in their favor, and investors seem to agree.