VANCOUVER, Oct. 27 /CNW/ - Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. ("Northern
Dynasty" or the "Company") (TSX:NDM; AMEX: NAK) reports that core drilling and
other study activities at the Pebble Limited Partnership's ("PLP", "Pebble
Partnership" or the "Partnership") project site in southwest Alaska continue
to advance. The Pebble Project remains on track to complete a Prefeasibility
Study in the second half of 2009.
"The Pebble Partnership continues to make sizable investments across a
broad range of technical, environmental and social disciplines to move the
project forward efficiently toward the completion of a proposed development
plan and the onset of permitting," said Northern Dynasty President & CEO Ron
Thiessen. "The tremendous amount of work undertaken this year by geological
and geotechnical drilling crews, environmental and socioeconomic consultants,
as well as the site personnel that support them, has moved us that much closer
to reaching our program goals."
To the end of September 2008, PLP crews had completed 141,000 feet of
drilling in 215 holes. This includes 109,800 feet of drilling in 24 holes to:
increase the information base about known mineralization in the Pebble East
deposit; continue to delineate the Pebble East deposit; and provide detailed
geotechnical information for mine planning purposes. Crews also completed
31,160 feet of drilling in 191 dedicated environmental, geotechnical and
metallurgical holes. Drilling at Pebble will continue through December 2008.
Following a 6 to 8-week hiatus, site activities will begin again in February
Thiessen said the Pebble Partnership, with the assistance of co-owners
Northern Dynasty and Anglo American plc, has assembled a world-class mine
development team to design, permit, construct and operate a modern, long-life
mine at Pebble. A dedicated team of approximately 20 engineers and technical
specialists (many seconded from Anglo American), as well as 58 engineering
firms and other consultancies, is currently preparing a Prefeasibility Study
for the project.
"While the high-grade copper-gold-molybdenum mineralization within the
Pebble East zone remains open to expansion, the 2008 drill program will
delineate sufficient volume and grades to allow us to finalize a
Prefeasibility Study next year," Thiessen confirmed. "Similarly, the excellent
progress being made by our engineering design team, our environmental study
team and stakeholder outreach personnel means Pebble is on schedule to
finalize a proposed development plan in 2009 and, following input from project
stakeholders, apply for permits in early 2010."
Thiessen said the Pebble Partnership and Northern Dynasty expect to
publish a revised mineral resource estimate for the Pebble deposit based on
2008 drilling results later this year. A significant proportion of the known
mineralization at Pebble East is expected to move from an inferred to an
While drilling continues at Pebble, other 2008 site activities are
largely complete. Some 26 environmental and socioeconomic study teams visited
the project site this year as part of the fifth consecutive year of
comprehensive environmental baseline studies.
Northern Dynasty and subsequently the Pebble Partnership have invested
more than $100 million in environmental and socioeconomic studies over the
past five years, including $25 million planned for 2008. The Partnership is
currently assembling an Environmental Baseline Document for Pebble, which will
be submitted as part of the project's permit applications.
"The Pebble Partnership has undertaken the most expansive and
comprehensive pre-permitting environmental study program in the history of
mine development in Alaska, if not North America," said Northern Dynasty
Chairman Robert Dickinson. "These investments will hold the project in very
good stead as it prepares to enter the federal and state permitting process."
Other statistics from a busy 2008 study program at Pebble include:
- a total of 10 helicopters have flown more than 9,000 hours, moving
crew and equipment from the operations base in Iliamna to various
- approximately 800 individuals have worked about 40,000 person-days,
with the total number of people at site peaking at 232 in August;
- approximately 3,420 fixed wing aircraft flights have brought people
and supplies into and out of Iliamna in 2008, including more than
50 groups visiting to tour the Pebble Project;
- site expenditures to the end of September total approximately
$50 million, excluding environmental study costs; and
- some 90% of 2008 site expenditures (or approximately $45 million)
have accrued to Alaskan firms.
"Whether you're looking at investment, jobs, supply and service contracts
or revenues to government, we believe Pebble has the potential to be the next
great development project in Alaska - on the scale of a Prudhoe Bay or Alyeska
Pipeline," Dickinson said. "But Pebble is also making a significant
contribution to the regional and state economy today, in part because of the
Partnership's efforts to diligently apply local hiring and local contracting
The Pebble Limited 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. Under the terms of the
agreement, Anglo American will fund $1.425 billion of project costs to acquire
its 50% interest - including budgeted expenditures of US$140 million in 2008
and US$40 million in 2007.
Study activities and program expenditures at Pebble in 2009 will be
finalized in December, and are expected to be similar to those in 2008.
Northern Dynasty continues to hold US$36 million in cash and has no immediate
funding commitments for the Pebble Project.
Mark Rebagliati, P.Eng., has reviewed the information on the site program
and Stephen Hodgson, P.Eng., has reviewed the information on the engineering
programs. Both are qualified persons who monitor Northern Dynasty's programs.
President and CEO
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
Comments on Forward-Looking Information, Estimates and other
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 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 diamond drill hole core provides valuable information about the size,
shape and geology of an exploration project, there will always remain a
significant degree of uncertainty in connection with these valuation factors
until a deposit has been extensively drilled on closely spaced centers, which
has occurred only in specific areas on the Pebble Project. 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 prefeasibility and final feasibility studies,
preparation of all necessary engineering for 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. There is no known ore at the Pebble Project and there is no assurance
that the mineralization at the Pebble Project 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.
For further information:
For further information: on Northern Dynasty and the Pebble Project,
visit our website at www.northerndynastyminerals.com and the Pebble
Partnership website at www.pebblepartnership.com, or contact Investor Services
at (604) 684-6365 or within North America at 1-800-667-2114