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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 5:21 EDT

Northern Dynasty calls EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment process ‘biased and manipulative’

June 4, 2013

VANCOUVER, June 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.
(“Northern Dynasty” or the “Company”) (TSX: NDM; NYSE MKT: NAK) has
filed a 205-page submission with the US Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) in response to its call for public comments on the revised draft
Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment (BBWA), calling the draft report and
process to complete it ‘biased, manipulative and contrary to EPA’s own guidelines.’

Northern Dynasty President & CEO Ronald Thiessen said the 2013 draft
BBWA released in April suffers from the same major shortcomings as the
original report published in May 2012 – in particular, that EPA
continues to assess the environmental effects of a hypothetical mine of
its own invention, one that does not employ modern engineering
standards, environmental safeguards or project-specific mitigation
measures and could not be permitted under US or Alaska law.

Although EPA’s ‘hypothetical mine’ is sited  at the location of the
Pebble deposit, BBWA authors continue to refuse to consider the most
extensive scientific data set available on the region – environmental
baseline data collected by the Pebble Limited Partnership (the “Pebble
Partnership” or “PLP”) at a cost of some $150 million. The failure to
fully consider PLP’s environmental data is contrary to EPA’s own
guidelines for data quality, and is compounded by the fact that BBWA
study authors have never set foot on the Pebble Project site.

“The Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment process has truly become the
theatre of the absurd,”
Thiessen said. “Rather than waiting for the Pebble Partnership to submit a proposed
development plan for consideration by federal and state regulatory
agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), something
that is expected to occur this year, EPA has invented its own
hypothetical mine, it has continued to ignore modern mine engineering
practices and regulatory requirements, it has shunned the best
available scientific and environmental data at its disposal, and it has
created a public and peer review process designed to minimize
scientific scrutiny of its work.

We believe the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment process to be a cynical
effort to manipulate public perception about a project before it has
been proposed or undergone federal and state permitting. And we believe
the draft BBWA to be a fundamentally biased report that should have no
bearing on the future of America’s most important undeveloped mineral
resource
.”

Northern Dynasty’s letter to EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe
states the federal agency has further failed to provide for an open,
objective and transparent public and scientific review of the 2013
draft BBWA by unnecessarily restricting public comment opportunities on
a 1,300+ page document and restricting public access to its Peer Review
Panel, ignoring the agency’s own guidelines for scientific peer review.

While unprecedented, Northern Dynasty said at the outset of the BBWA
process that EPA’s study could have served a valuable purpose for
project stakeholders and the people of southwest Alaska if it provided
an objective, science-based assessment of the true risks and
opportunities associated with modern mine development in the region
prior to the onset of project permitting
,” Thiessen said. “Unfortunately in its current form, the BBWA is not an objective,
science-based assessment but a demonstrably flawed and biased document
now being used to substantial effect by the anti-development community
to manipulate public and political opinion about one of America’s
greatest assets, the Pebble Project
.”

Other materials submitted by Northern Dynasty to EPA include:

        --  a summary report with numerous examples that demonstrate how
            BBWA study authors have distorted the potential effects of a
            mine designed and operated to modern engineering standards on
            the natural resources of Bristol Bay, relating to study
            methodology, steady state mine operations and range of failure
            scenarios;
        --  a summary of independent peer review reports on seven studies
            prepared by environmental organizations and anti-Pebble
            activists, all of which figure prominently in the 2013 draft
            BBWA. Although commissioned by EPA, assumedly to bolster the
            scientific credibility of the activists' studies, the peer
            reviewers instead highlight significant problems with
            scientific methodology and highly questionable or wholly
            inadequate conclusions;
        --  a summary of EPA's failure in the 2013 BBWA report to
            meaningfully address criticisms that the 'hypothetical mine'
            evaluated in the original draft does not employ modern
            engineering standards, as outlined in a report from Geosyntec
            Consultants (2012 and 2013), and directed by Dr. Michael
            Kavanaugh, a registered professional engineer and member of the
            National Academy of Engineering with 39 years of experience in
            water quality and groundwater restoration; and
        --  a report on well-established and time-proven fish habitat
            rehabilitation, mitigation and enhancement practices and
            opportunities, which demonstrates the extensive opportunities
            to enhance fish habitat productivity in the Pebble Project area
            as part of project development. This report clearly contradicts
            the BBWA's unfounded conclusion that mitigation for potential
            fish habitat impacts associated with Pebble is not possible.

The Pebble Project represents far too important a resource for the
Bristol Bay region, the State of Alaska and the United States to have
its fate decided by a biased and manipulative study,”
Thiessen said, citing the 15,000 US jobs and $2.4 billion-plus annual
GDP contribution forecast in a recent economic impact study of the
Pebble Project. http://www.northerndynastyminerals.com/ndm/NEIStudy.asp

“Given the national significance of the project and the significant
shortcomings of the 2013 BBWA draft, we remain confident that future
development of Pebble will ultimately be determined by federal and
state regulators working within the objective NEPA permitting process
to enforce the robust environmental protection standards of the United
States and Alaska.”

To view Northern Dynasty’s critique of the revised draft Bristol Bay
Watershed Assessment report, visit the home page of our website at www.northerndynasty.com.

About the Pebble Project

The Pebble Project is an initiative of the Pebble Partnership to
responsibly develop a globally significant copper, gold and molybdenum
deposit in southwest Alaska into a modern, long-life mine, which will
benefit not only the proponent, its partners and the people and culture
of the State of Alaska, but also industries, suppliers and consultants
locally and in the Lower 48 United States of America. The project is
located 200 miles southwest of Anchorage on state land designated for
mineral exploration and development. It is situated in a region of
rolling tundra 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 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 500 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.

               Forward Looking Information and other Cautionary Factors

    This release includes certain statements that may be deemed
    "forward-looking statements". All statements in this release, other
    than statements of historical facts, especially those that address
    potential mine feasibility, economic effects, estimated resource
    quantities, grades and contained metals, are forward-looking statements
    because they are generally made on the basis of estimation and
    extrapolation from a limited number of drill holes and metallurgical
    studies. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in
    its forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions,
    such statements should not be in any way construed as guarantees of the
    ultimate size, quality or commercial feasibility of the Pebble Project
    or of the Company's future performance. The likelihood of future mining
    at the Pebble Project is subject to a large number of risks and will
    require achievement of a number of technical, economic and legal
    objectives, including obtaining necessary mining and construction
    permits, completion of pre-feasibility and final feasibility studies,
    preparation of all necessary engineering for an open pit and/or
    underground workings and processing facilities as well as receipt of
    significant additional financing to fund these objectives as well as
    funding mine construction. Such funding may not be available to the
    Company on acceptable terms or on any terms at all. The mineralization
    at the Pebble Project has not yet been classified as ore and there is
    no assurance that it will ever be classified as ore. The need for
    compliance with extensive environmental and socio-economic rules and
    practices and the requirement for the Company to obtain government
    permitting can cause a delay or even abandonment of a mineral project.
    The Company is also subject to the specific risks inherent in the
    mining business as well as general economic and business conditions.
    For more information on the Company, Investors should review the
    Company's annual Form 40-F filing with the United States Securities and
    Exchange Commission and its home jurisdiction filings that are
    available at www.sedar.com.

 

SOURCE Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd.


Source: PR Newswire