"By failing to consider modern engineered mitigation methods that would be required for an acceptable permit application, the report presents a biased and inaccurate assessment of the potential impacts of the Pebble Project. Some examples of our findings include:
- erroneous assumptions based on literature data not relevant to a modern mining scenario, such as culvert failure statistics developed from culverts that were never permitted in the first place;
- inaccurate calculations that significantly overestimate consequences of those hypothetical system failures, such as using inappropriate geometry in a dam breach analysis, that over predicts velocity and distance of sediment transport; and
- general lack of any attention to mitigation measures for all engineered systems which would be designed with appropriate safety factors, be accepted by regulators, and be designed to minimize the consequences of unlikely failure events, such as placing pipeline shutoff valves immediately before stream crossings instead of 14 km away, thereby limiting the amount of material that would escape if there were a failure."
Sean Magee, Northern Dynasty's Vice President of Public Affairs, also offered testimony, summarizing the 635-page critique of the draft BBWA report that Northern Dynasty submitted last month. Magee called upon peer reviewers to demand that EPA slow down the watershed assessment process, and complete a thorough and comprehensive study after the Pebble Partnership has completed its studies and filed for federal and state permits under NEPA.
"Our investors, some three-quarters of whom are American, have invested significantly in Northern Dynasty because they believe in responsible resource development in the United States ," Magee said. " They believe the US is a stable and fair jurisdiction in which to invest, and that the United States should develop her mineral resources to build the US economy and to provide domestic sources of strategic minerals - like copper.
"Our investors also know that mineral development is a speculative business and that the money they invest in a company like Northern Dynasty doesn't necessarily mean that a project like Pebble will ultimately be built. But they do expect that the $500 million invested in good faith in geological, engineering, environmental and socioeconomic studies will ultimately be reviewed through a comprehensive federal and state permitting process under NEPA."Magee noted that the Pebble Project is the most important undeveloped mineral resource in the United States, and that the lands surrounding Pebble are acknowledged by the US Geological Survey as the most extensively mineralized area in the world. "The Pebble Project and the Pebble lands represent too important a resource for the region, the state and the nation to have their fate decided by a premature, rushed and scientifically flawed study." To view the complete text from testimonies offered on behalf of Northern Dynasty at today's hearing, or the critique of the draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment report, visit our website at www.northerndynasty.com. About the Pebble Project The Pebble Project is an initiative of PLP to responsibly develop a globally significant copper, gold and molybdenum deposit in southwest Alaska into a modern, long-life mine. The project is located 200 miles southwest of Anchorage on state land designated for mineral exploration and development. It is situated approximately 1,000 feet above sea-level, 65 miles from tidewater on Cook Inlet and presents favourable conditions for successful mine site and infrastructure development. The Pebble Project consists of the Pebble deposit, surrounding mineral claims and a stream of financing being provided by Northern Dynasty's project partner Anglo American US (Pebble) LLC. The Pebble Partnership was established in July 2007 as a 50:50 partnership between a wholly-owned affiliate of Northern Dynasty and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anglo American plc. Both Northern Dynasty and Anglo American have equal ownership and direction of the Pebble Partnership. Under the terms of the Pebble Limited Partnership Agreement, Anglo American is required to elect to commit $1.5 billion in staged investments in order to retain its 50% interest in the Pebble Project. Funds provided by Anglo American are currently being invested in comprehensive exploration, engineering, environmental and socioeconomic programs toward the future development of the Pebble Project. About Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. Northern Dynasty is a mineral exploration and development company based in Vancouver, Canada, which holds indirect interests in over 600 sq. miles of mineral claims in southwest Alaska, USA. Northern Dynasty's principal asset is a 50% interest in the Pebble Partnership, owner of the Pebble Project. The Pebble Project is an advanced-stage initiative to develop one of the world's most important mineral resources. Ronald W. Thiessen President & CEO Sole Responsibility No regulatory authority accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. Northern Dynasty is solely and entirely responsible for the contents of this news release. No other party, including any parties which have an interest in the project, are in any way responsible for the contents hereof.