Hedge Fund Manager: Pebble Project Worthless, United Tribes of Bristol Bay Respond

Map showing location of proposed Pebble mine.

Map showing location of proposed Pebble mine.

An assessment released on Tuesday by hedge fund manager, Kerrisdale Capital Management concerning the proposed Pebble Mine prompted a response by the United Tribes of Bristol Bay later in the day.

According to the assessment of the controversial mine, KCM said in a release that the former partners of Pebble had “concluded that the Pebble project had a negative present value,” and those partners have been concealing that determination from the public for many years.

They went on to say that the mine would take so much upfront investment, that it would destroy value.

Northern Dynasty Minerals has hosted several promotional campaigns since the 2016 presidential election, in the hopes that the Pebble Project would go forward with Trump’s re-tuning of the Environmental Protection Agency. As a result, the stock price for Northern Dynasty has risen 326%.

KCM says that they believe that the stock is worthless, and point to discussions with players directly involved in the planning of the project. KCM believes that “the upfront capital costs necessary to build and operate the mine are so onerous that the mine isn’t commercially viable.

The hedge fund manager said that prior to pulling out of the project, Anglo American had concluded that even with mineral prices higher than today, that the construction of the mine would destroy billions of dollars of the mine’s value. KCM said that Northern Dynasty knew this, and so cut the analysis short so that they would not have to disclose those findings to the public.

Large players in the mining industry, including Teck, Mitsubishi, Rio Tinto and Anglo American invested in the project in the past, but have since walked away from the mine.

The EPA stepped in in 2014 and stopped the project in its tracks amid controversy that included disapproval by Alaska Natives, environmental groups and commercial fishermen.

The United Tribes of Bristol Bay said in a statement released today, that:

“From the start, the Indigenous people of Bristol Bay have opposed Pebble Mine because it threatens our subsistence way of life and the wild salmon it depends on. Over time, a strong and growing community of sport and commercial fishermen, the majority of our fellow Alaskans, and hundreds of thousands of Americans joined us,” said Alannah Hurley, executive director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay. “Today, we are pleased to see financial analysts reaching the same conclusion we in the region have held for years. The Pebble project is not economically, politically, or socially viable. Bristol Bay’s future, like its past, will be defined by healthy salmon runs and vibrant tribal communities, not toxic projects like Pebble.”  

The United Tribes of Bristol Bay press release can be seen here