What happened

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Draft Environmental Impact Statement is out! The DEIS is out! Hooray!

It might seem strange to imagine so much excitement over the publication of a bit of paperwork. But you could still almost hear the cheers among Northern Dynasty Minerals (NYSEMKT:NAK) shareholders today, as the would-be gold miner took its next step, in an already year-long journey, toward opening its Pebble Project to begin mining gold in southwest Alaska.

On Wednesday morning, the Corps of Engineers posted on its website its Draft Environmental Impact Statement ("DEIS") for southwest Alaska's Pebble Project, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA").

Pile of paperwork in binder clips.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Explaining the import of this announcement, Northern Dynasty this morning observed that it sees no indication of "major data gaps or substantive impacts associated with a mine at the Pebble site" in the Corps' DEIS. Neither did Northern Dynasty see mention of any "significant environmental challenges that would preclude the project from getting a permit."

In management's view, therefore, the publication of the DEIS is a positive development that "shows Alaska stakeholders that there is a clear path forward for this project."

Now what

Admittedly, publication of the DEIS doesn't necessarily mean Pebble will be a commercial success for Northern Dynasty Minerals, or that the stock will definitely be a rewarding investment.

At the very least, however, it brings a bit closer the day when Northern Dynasty will generate its first dollar of revenue in ... more than 20 years of waiting. That fact alone seems to have been good enough for a 13% bump in Northern Dynasty Minerals stock today.

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