SEC Investigation Sought into Pebble Mine Company Statements

Officials with the Securities and Exchange Commission have
been asked to investigate contradictory information provided by a Canadian
mining company invested in a massive copper, gold and molybdenum deposit in
Southwest Alaska.
The request came from Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA, who cited
“potential discrepancies” in a report filed by Canadian-based Northern Dynasty
Minerals with the SEC in February 2011.
The report, called the “Wardrop Report,” was used by the US
Environmental Protection Agency to inform its May 2012 draft watershed
assessment on potential long-term environmental, economic and cultural impacts
of a large-scale hard rock mine, like the proposed Pebble Mine, on the Bristol
Bay watershed.
In formal testimony to the EPA in August 2012, Northern
Dynasty officials referred to the report as a “fantasy proposal,” Cantwell said
March 18.
Ron Thiessen, president and chief executive officer of
Northern Dynasty, responded on March 19, 
saying Cantwell’s concerns have no basis in fact.
“While the EPA may have used some of the information
presented in our preliminary economic assessment to create a ‘hypothetical
mining scenario’, it is the EPA alone that is responsible for designing and
then assessing the effects of the hypothetical mine in the BBWA,” Thiessen
said. “To suggest that Northern Dynasty is responsible for the EPA’s
hypothetical project which was evaluated in the EPA’s draft BBWA when we had no
involvement with the report is wrong,” he said.
Cantwell’s request to the SEC is being applauded by Trout
Unlimited and Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay in support of Bristol Bay
sockeye harvests.
“Clearly Northern Dynasty can’t have it both ways, said Tim
Bristol, director of TU’s Alaska program. “Either they are misleading the SEC
and investors, or they are misleading the EPA and other regulatory agencies,”
he said.
“This contradictory use of the Wardrop Report is extremely
concerning as it is unclear whether Northern Dynasty Minerals is misleading
investors by attracting investment for a ‘fantasy proposal’ or it is
intentionally providing fraudulent testimony to the EPA,” Cantwell said in a
March 18 letter to SEC Chair Elisse Walter.
Cantwell noted the importance of the Pebble mine issue to
Washington State and the Pacific Northwest and urged an immediate investigation
into the matter.