Company says Pebble deposit bigger than previously thought

Posted: Thursday, February 22, 2007

ANCHORAGE - The company that wants to develop a giant copper and gold prospect in southwest Alaska has released new estimates showing the deposit could be much larger than previously thought.

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If the claim proves true, the Pebble prospect would be worth more than $200 billion, according to Northern Dynasty Mines, the Canadian company exploring Pebble.

The company estimates a deposit containing 82 million ounces of gold and 67 billion pounds of copper. That would make Pebble the second-largest gold deposit and third-largest copper deposit in the world.

But Northern Dynasty said the new estimates haven't been proven. That will take more drilling, and the company still needs to do an economic-feasibility study, Northern Dynasty executives said Tuesday.

State officials stressed that Pebble's mineral resources have not yet been proven to be financially worthwhile to develop.

"It gets more real in my mind when there are real dollars assigned to the cost of production," said Tom Crafford, large mines permit coordinator for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

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