Science & Technology



Army Corps denies permit appeal by Pebble mine developer

Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News on

Published in Science & Technology News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Army Corps this week rejected a permitting appeal by Pebble Limited Partnership, another setback for the copper and gold prospect in Southwest Alaska.

The Corps in 2020 had denied a permit for the project. That led to an appeal by Pebble and an additional review by the Corps.

The Corps said in a statement Monday that it is denying the appeal based on another federal agency’s decision to reject the project.

The Environmental Protection Agency in 2023 invoked a little-used power under the Clean Water Act to veto the mine on the grounds that it would cause “unacceptable, adverse” harm to the valuable Bristol Bay salmon fishery. The decision trumped the standard federal permitting process that was playing out before the Corps.

The Corps said it has determined “that the EPA veto is a controlling factor, and the application is denied without prejudice,” according to the statement.

Mike Heatwole, a spokesperson with Pebble, said the Corps decision Monday was not based on the merits of the technical issues Pebble raised in its appeal.


“At this time we are evaluating the Corps decision and reviewing next steps for the project,” Heatwole said in an emailed statement.

The Pebble deposit sits on state land about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage, near the headwaters of Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery.

Supporters of the project say the mineral deposit could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars and brightens Alaska’s economic outlook. Opponents say it could destroy valuable Alaska fisheries worth about $2 billion annually.

In March, Pebble filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency to overturn its decision to halt the mine.


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