Deep pockets drop out of Pebble project

Mining giant Anglo America, the Pebble Partnership’s weight and muscle, announced on Monday that it’s dropping out of the Pebble mine project.

What this means to the mine is unclear. But it doesn’t bode well for Pebble’s prospects. Anglo had a 50 percent interest in the project. The other 50 percent belongs to Northern Dynasty. Anglo is the parent company to the diamond giant De Beers, and the company has holdings all over the world. Northern Dynasty’s sole asset is Pebble.

Anglo says that it’s dropping its project to focus on lower risk projects, ones that are perhaps less politically charged. The EPA is in the process of deciding whether or not to block the project, which would be one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines near the source of over a third of the world’s wild salmon supply.

If the EPA chooses not to block Pebble, it will likely become one of the country’s most heated environmental fights. Anglo and De Beers have already been getting pressure from jewelers across the world to drop out of the project.

Northern Dynasty’s stock, which opened on Monday at $1.66, had dropped 34 percent by midday East Coast Time.

Northern Dynasty vows to fight on. The company’s CEO Ron Thiessen said that it has $541 million worth of expenditures, “which opens the door to a number of exciting possibilities for Northern Dynasty and its shareholders and the Pebble Project and its stakeholders.”

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