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Alaska Mine Developer Plunges on Reports Trump May Block Project

(Bloomberg) — Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. plunged after reports the Trump administration is planning to block the controversial Pebble mining project in Alaska.

The project has drawn opposition from prominent Republicans including Donald Trump Jr. On Monday, an Army Corps of Engineers letter was made public demanding a mitigation plan for “unavoidable adverse impacts.”

Pebble is in an area in southwestern Alaska that drains into Bristol Bay, home to the world’s most productive salmon fishery. Conservationists, local activists and fishing operations have fought the project for years, but blocking it would be a reversal for an administration that has allowed a review of the plan to proceed.

The project — which has known deposits of copper, gold and other metals — secured a final environmental impact review from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last month.

But in order to submit a “record of decision,” the Army Corps said in a letter dated Aug. 20 that the company needs to develop a mitigation plan within 90 days “to compensate for all direct and indirect impacts caused by discharges into aquatic resources” over thousands of acres of wetlands.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Mike Kozak put his rating and price target on Northern Dynasty under review, citing Pebble uncertainties.

Northern Dynasty fell as much as 51% in Toronto, the steepest intraday drop since at least 1994 when Bloomberg records begin. The shares, which more than tripled this year through Friday, were down 34% as of 12:01 p.m.

The company said Monday in a statement that it launched an advertising and outreach campaign targeting “the Trump Administration, the Republican Party, its delegates and influencers to coincide with the Republican National Convention kicking off Tuesday.” The campaign includes television ads to influence people in the party and others in “the conservative movement.”

Trump Jr., a keen sportsman, took to Twitter this month to oppose the mining project, lining up with Nick Ayers, a former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence.

(Updates with details of Army Corps letter in fourth paragraph)

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