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Anglo American pulls out of Pebble project

Keywords: Tags  copper project, Pebble Mine, Anglo American, Anglo American (US) Pebble, Northern Dynasty Minerals, Alaska, molybdenum, Ron Thiessen Mark Cutifani

NEW YORK — Anglo American (US) Pebble LLC is withdrawing from the Pebble Mine project in southwest Alaska, partner Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. said during a conference call Sept. 16.

"We are in control of the destiny of this project," Northern Dynasty chief executive officer Ron Thiessen said during the call. Northern Dynasty, now 100-percent owner of the copper, gold and molybdenum project, doesn’t have any parties interested in joining the venture, he added.

London-based Anglo American Plc, parent of Anglo American (US) Pebble, invested $541 million in the 50-50 joint venture, which Northern Dynasty will keep to continue the project, Thiessen said. Anglo American said it expected to record a $300-million impairment charge Dec. 31 on a post-tax basis as a result of its decision.

The Pebble project description is 99-percent complete, and before Anglo American’s withdrawal, Northern Dynasty had planned to file the description to trigger permitting in the final quarter of 2013. That could now be delayed.

Anglo American made its decision after "a thorough assessment of (the company’s) extensive pipeline of long-dated project options," chief executive officer Mark Cutifani said in a statement.

Anglo American has dozens of projects in multiple stages of development, a spokesman told AMM. "We’re prioritizing them on the value they bring and the risk profile. This is not a judgement on the (Pebble) project."

The Pebble project has met resistance from local environmental groups, as well as a negative Environmental Protection Agency report questioning what a mine would do to the fish population nearby Bristol Bay (, June 4, 2012).

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