Northern Dynasty Minerals shares plunge after First Quantum walks away

VANCOUVER _ Shares of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. lost as much as a third of their value in early trading after First Quantum Minerals Ltd. walked away from a proposed deal with the company.

Northern Dynasty says it was unable to reach an agreement on an option and partnership deal with First Quantum.

A framework agreement between the two Vancouver-based mining companies was announced in December, and the deadline for concluding a transaction was extended twice, most recently to May 31.

The deal had contemplated First Quantum acquiring an option to earn a 50 per cent stake in Northern Dynasty’s controversial Pebble copper-and-gold mine project in Alaska.

Northern Dynasty has struggled to advance the project in the Bristol Bay area of Alaska, home to a major salmon fishery that environmentalists and Indigenous people have fought to protect.

It has been looking for a partner since 2013, when a subsidiary of London-based Anglo American PLC announced it was withdrawing from the project.

Northern Dynasty shares were down 28 cents at 62 cents in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange after falling as low as 58 cents.