VANCOUVER, May 2 /PRNewswire/ - Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. ("Northern Dynasty" or the "Company") (TSX: NDM) (NYSE Amex: NAK) announces that the Pebble Limited Partnership (the "Pebble Partnership" or "PLP") Board of Directors has approved program expenditures of US $91 million in 2011, with the objective of completing a Prefeasibility Study for the Pebble Project in 2012, and thereafter initiate permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
"Upon reaching commercial production, Pebble would become one of the world's leading producers of copper, gold and molybdenum as well as a tremendous driver of economic wealth and opportunity in Alaska and the United States," said Northern Dynasty President and CEO Ron Thiessen.
"Given its national and global importance, the Pebble Partnership has been very deliberate, methodical and patient in designing a project that will meet and exceed the exacting environmental regulations and permitting requirements in Alaska, while delivering superior returns for shareholders. I'm pleased to report that this project design process is nearing important milestones and that PLP intends to enter the permitting phase towards the end of 2012. "
In February 2011, Northern Dynasty released a positive Preliminary Assessment for the Pebble Copper-Gold-Molybdenum Project in southwest Alaska, completed by Wardrop, a Tetra Tech Company (see Northern Dynasty press release dated February 23, 2011). The Preliminary Assessment confirms Pebble to be a technically and economically robust project with the potential to produce 53 billion lb copper, 50 million oz gold and 2.8 billion lb molybdenum over 78 years, while developing just 55% of the known mineral resource. A complete copy of the Preliminary Assessment Technical Report can be found at www.northerndynasty.com or on the Company's profile at www.sedar.com.Activities to be undertaken at the Pebble Project in 2011 include:
- engineering to complete a Prefeasibility Study (PFS) project design in 2012;
- environmental studies to support PFS engineering, finalize an Environmental Baseline Document in preparation for project permitting, develop a mine closure and reclamation plan, prepare a full suite of environmental and social management plans, and continue environmental monitoring studies in key areas;
- site investigations, including 45,000 feet of drilling to support PFS engineering, as well as a geotechnical drill program and support for environmental and public affairs initiatives; and,
- stakeholder engagement and public affairs programming, including workforce and business development, local community relations, public education and community investment.