The company responsible for Pebble Mine saw a 60% surge in share price on the heels of the EPA's update.
Northern Dynasty Minerals, the sole owner of the Pebble Limited Partnership, saw a 60% jump in share price on Tuesday. The surge came after the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew proposed restrictions on the Pebble Mine project, clearing a potential hurdle to its development.
The value of Northern Dynasty stock has been low amid recent controversy surrounding the proposed mine and hasn't seen a boost of this magnitude in more than two years.
Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen says the stock movement reflects investor optimism that the project is on the right course.
“You saw it in the market," Thiessen said. "Our shareholders felt this was a major impediment and clearing it was a major milestone.”
Not everyone shares that positive outlook. Norm Van Vactor, president of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, thinks Tuesday’s movement on the markets was nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to the day’s headlines, and still sees plenty of significant obstacles to the mine’s development.
“At the end of the day," Van Vactor said. "I have a high degree of confidence that science and reason will prevail. It’s certainly not where I would be putting my retirement funds or even my play money if I had any.”
KDLG reached out to a number of financial analysts for this story, but they all declined to comment.
Northern Dynasty shares have not seen much action over the past few years, a time during which the debate over Pebble Mine's potential environmental impact has grown.
Thiessen says certain worries about the mine’s effects on Bristol Bay are unfounded.
“People shouldn't have been scared away," Thiessen said. "And our share price shouldn't have been depressed, because people don't tell the truth about the potential impact of this project on a fishery”
Van Vactor disagrees. He’s holding out hope that the permitting process will take scientific findings into account and keep the project from getting too far.
“This is another bump in the road," Van Vactor said. "We've seen a lot of them before and we will see more in the future. But at the end of the day I'm very optimistic that that science and truth will prevail.”
Northern Dynasty stock was hovering around 80 cents at the end of trading on July 31. The next major step in the permitting process comes in early 2020 when the Army Corps of Engineers expects to release its final environmental review.