Northern Dynasty Minerals has responded to the allegations made earlier this week by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell that the company was misleading federal officials. In a written statement issued Tuesday Northern Dynasty Minerals President and CEO claimed that Senator Cantwell's concerns have no basis in fact.
Cantwell claims that Northern Dynasty Minerals has made contradictory statements to the EPA, the Securities and Exchange Commission and investors about the EPA's draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment and a potential mine plan. Ron Thiessen admits that the EPA may have used some of the information presented in the companies "Preliminary Economic Assessment" to create their mining scenario. But he says it's the EPA alone that is responsible for designing and then assessing the effects of the hypothetical mine in the draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment". Thiessen goes onto says that to suggest that Northern Dynasty is responsible for the EPA's hypothetical project, which was evaluated in the draft watershed document, when the company had not involvement with the report is wrong.
In the news release Northern Dynasty Minerals noted that the companies Preliminary Economic Assessment presented a potential mine development scenario at Pebble but it did not include all the mine design information and mitigating measures that Northern Dynasty claims would have allowed the EPA to do a detailed assessment. The company claims the Preliminary Economic Assessment was intended to broadly evaluate the economics of a Pebble Mine project but did not included detailed engineering and other data. Thiessen asserts that Northern Dynasty's filings with the SEC are legal and meet all of the required standards for those filing.
In the hours after the Cantwell letter to the SEC chairman was released several organizations involved with the Pebble Mine issued released statements. The Bristol Bay Native Corporation issued a statement expressing appreciation for Senator Cantwell's attention to the proposed Pebble Mine. BBNC has take a position in opposition to the Pebble Mine and is calling for the EPA to step in and prevent the mine from moving forward to development. Northern Dynasty Minerals is based in Vancouver and its principal asset is the 50-percent stake in the Pebble Limited Partnership. That partnership is looking at developing a large gold and copper mine just north of Iliamna Lake.