What happened

Investors are breathing some life back into Northern Dynasty Minerals (NYSEMKT:NAK) today after it was virtually left for dead late last year. As of 3:30 p.m. EST, shares are up 9% after being as much as 14% higher earlier in the day. 

So what 

The company's Alaskan Pebble Mine project was virtually killed late last year when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected the company's response in addressing environmental issues related to dredged materials and waste fluids. Shares sank more than 55% on that news

Yesterday, however, the company announced Alaskan Gov. Mike Dunleavy's administration will formerly appeal the Army Corps' denial of a key federal permit for the project. 

aerial view of open pit mine

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Shares are still more than 40% below the level they were trading prior to the denial of the Clean Water Act permit. The Pebble Mine project is the world's largest undeveloped copper, gold, molybdenum, and silver resource, according to the company. The entire focus of the mining company is around this project. 

The appeal centers around the Army Corps' own guidance for issuing mitigation requirements. The governor's office said the Army Corps' decision was "flawed [and] ... creates a dangerous precedent that will undoubtedly harm Alaska's future."

The Pebble Partnership will join the state's appeal, claiming "mitigation requirements for Pebble are contrary to policy and precedent in Alaska." 

Investors still holding on after the original decision may be holding out some hope that the project may survive after the appeals. New investors who want to place a bet would be doing just that at this point, however. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.