|July 30, 2012|
Northern Dynasty submits comments on draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment report
July 30, 2012, Vancouver, BC -- Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. ("Northern Dynasty" or the "Company") (TSX: NDM; NYSE Amex: NAK) has submitted a 635-page critique of the draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment (BBWA) report -- entitled An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska -- in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) call for public comment.
Calling the draft BBWA report "seriously flawed, and not grounded in sound scientific analysis," the Northern Dynasty critique calls upon EPA to cease action on the watershed assessment until such time as the Pebble Limited Partnership ("PLP" or the "Pebble Partnership") submits a definitive proposal for the development of the Pebble deposit. Northern Dynasty also criticized the EPA for refusing to extend its 60-day comment period despite calls from the State of Alaska, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young, as well as the state's business and Alaska Native leadership.
"With the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, the EPA is grossly over-stepping its authority for reviewing major development projects in Alaska and the United States and is doing so in a manner that calls into question the federal agency's integrity and its technical and scientific credibility," said Northern Dynasty President & CEO Ron Thiessen. "The authors of this study have clearly been influenced by paid activists and special interest groups to create a report that is more advocacy than science. It is a scientifically flawed, inappropriately timed and politically motivated document, and it should be an embarrassment to the intelligence and integrity of the many good and devoted scientists within EPA."
Thiessen said there is no sound policy or scientific reason for the EPA to continue to rush its study forward, ignoring the appeals of Alaska Native, business and political leaders and its own guidelines for undertaking scientific studies in the public interest. He said Northern Dynasty's comprehensive technical, engineering and environmental critique of the draft BBWA report makes it abundantly clear it is a fundamentally flawed study that should in no way determine the future of America's most important mineral resource.
"In addition to its technical and scientific deficiencies, the draft BBWA report is inappropriate because it attempts to usurp the regulatory authority of the State of Alaska and the US Army Corps of Engineers by pre-judging the Pebble Project before it has been fully designed or submitted for permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)," Thiessen said. "Any regulatory action based on this flawed watershed assessment will ultimately be challenged by the government, Alaska Native and business entities that have questioned the authority of the EPA and the scientific integrity of the draft BBWA report."
Northern Dynasty submitted its comments on the EPA's draft watershed assessment on behalf of its shareholders, some three-quarters of whom are American citizens. Noting that Pebble is located on State of Alaska lands designated for mineral exploration and development, Thiessen said Northern Dynasty shareholders fully expect the Pebble Project to be evaluated by state and federal regulators within the NEPA permitting process, like every other major development project in the United States.
Evidence provided in Northern Dynasty's submission to the EPA demonstrates that:
To view Northern Dynasty's 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 more than 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.
For further details on Northern Dynasty please visit the Company's website at www.northerndynasty.com or contact Investor services at (604) 684-6365 or within North America at 1-800-667-2114. Review Canadian public filings at www.sedar.com and US public filings at www.sec.gov.
Ronald W. Thiessen
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