By Dave Bendinger: KDLG/Dillingham — Dec. 18, 2017
First Quantum Minerals will buy in at $150 million over the next four years, during the permitting phase, and will have the option to become a 50 percent partner with Northern Dynasty for an additional $1.35 billion if the mine goes into production.
Early Monday morning, Pebble announced a new partner to help carry its mining project through at least the permitting phase.
First Quantum Minerals is a Canadian-based company that currently operates seven mines and one copper smelter across six countries, including a large copper project in Panama.
“They just finished a project that is very similar to the Pebble project in Panama,” said Pebble Limited Partnership CEO Tom Collier, pointing to welcomed experience First Quantum brings to PLP. “[Cobre Panama has] gotten very positive reviews from the industry in terms of the design of the project, its efficiency, the financial economics of it, and also the way in which they have related to the community that they have built the project in.”
First Quantum has agreed to buy in at $150 million, paid in four installments over the next four years. This, Collier said, will fund Pebble through the permitting phase.
“That’s the most important step for us,” he said. “Then at the end of that option period, they can exercise the option for an additional $1.35 billion, and if they pay that money, they will be a 50 percent owner of Pebble Partnership along with Northern Dynasty.”
In 2013, Pebble’s original partner Anglo American walked away from a similar arrangement, after having invested more than $500 million towards the controversial copper and gold prospect northwest of Iliamna.
Collier said Pebble still intends to file its permit application before the year is out.
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