JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A Canadian company that was courted as a potential partner in a proposed copper-and-gold mine near one of the world's largest salmon fisheries has backed away from the project.

Mine developer Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. says it was unable to finalize an agreement with First Quantum Minerals Ltd., the potential investor.

It was not immediately clear what the development means for the project. 

Pebble Limited Partnership CEO  Tom Collier released the following statement Friday:

“For me today is business as usual. I have meetings in Washington, D.C. and I have kept every one of them because we are continuing to press forward. I believe we will secure the necessary funding to continue the permitting and review process for Pebble under the National Environmental Policy Act. This will result in an Environmental Impact Statement for Pebble.

“Pebble remains one of the nation’s most important undeveloped mineral resources. It is on state land and is an important economic asset for Alaska. Our project is well defined and we are going to continue communicating with Alaskans about why we believe in the opportunity it represents.”

The project has a permit application pending with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Mine opponent Joel Reynolds of the Natural Resources Defense Council says First Quantum Minerals did the right thing.

Reynolds says the project has been widely condemned.

The proposed mine is near Alaska's Bristol Bay, which is where about half the world's sockeye salmon is produced.

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