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CEO of Pebble Partnership resigns following release of ‘The Pebble Tapes’

Tom Collier, Pebble Mine Partnership CEO, testifies before Congress about the future of the Pebble Mine project in southern Alaska. (Source: Gray DC)
Tom Collier, Pebble Mine Partnership CEO, testifies before Congress about the future of the Pebble Mine project in southern Alaska. (Source: Gray DC)(GRAYDC)
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 2:01 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Tom Collier has resigned from his position as CEO of Pebble Limited Partnership, parent company Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. announced Wednesday.

His resignation comes after tapes of Collier and Northern Dynasty Minerals President and CEO Ronald Thiessen were posted by the Environmental Investigation Agency. The video recordings, dubbed “The Pebble Tapes,” capture the men flaunting their connection to political leaders to two men who claimed to be investors for a Hong Kong conglomerate.

“The unethical manner in which these tapes were acquired does not excuse the comments that were made, or the crass way they were expressed,” Thiessen said in a prepared statement. “On behalf of the Company and our employees, I offer my unreserved apology to all those who were hurt or offended, and all Alaskans.”

Collier submitted a letter of resignation to the company board of directors. In his place, former Pebble Partnership CEO John Shively will serve as interim CEO. He will be in that position while a search for a new CEO is underway.

Shively’s name was mentioned by Collier in the Pebble Tapes. Collier tells the potential investors that Shively has a relationship with Sen. Dan Sullivan’s state director as he is renting his apartment from the staff member.

Sullivan’s office addressed the comments made in the Pebble Tapes saying the senator has supported the decision that prevented Pebble Mine from receiving a federal permit.

“On the other piece of misinformation by Mr. Collier: John Shively does rent an apartment from Renee Reeve, however, he began renting that apartment well before Renee ever joined the Senator’s staff," Sullivan spokesperson Amanda Coyne said in a statement Tuesday.

Northern Dynasty Minerals described Shively in its release as “a well-known and respected Alaska business and political leader who most recently served as Chairman of the Pebble Partnership’s general partner.”

Shively was formerly the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, a senior executive with NANA Regional Corp. and is currently serving as the director of the Alaska Railroad Corp., the release stated.

In the Pebble Tapes, executives made claims about relationships with several top elected officials including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sullivan and Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Northern Dynasty Minerals said Collier’s comments in those tapes were an embellishment of the nature of the relationships with those representatives.

“The comments were clearly offensive to these and other political, business and community leaders in the state and for this, Northern Dynasty unreservedly apologizes to all Alaskans," the company said in a statement.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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