UPDATE 1-Pebble Partnership CEO resigns after secret tapes released

(Adds background and details from of the tape)

Sept 23 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Pebble Limited Partnership, the company trying to develop Alaska's Pebble Mine project, resigned on Wednesday after his comments on elected and regulatory officials in the U.S. state were covertly videotaped and released by an environmental activist group, its Canadian parent said.

The comments by Tom Collier embellished both his and the company's relationships with elected officials and federal representatives in Alaska, including Governor Michael Dunleavy, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and senior representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd said.

The video tapes, released on Monday, come as President Donald Trump's administration is considering whether to approve the company's copper and gold project, which opponents say would permanently damage Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed, an ecosystem that supports the world's largest salmon runs.

"The unethical manner in which these tapes were acquired does not excuse the comments that were made, or the crass way they were expressed," Northern Dynasty CEO Ron Thiessen said in a statement.

The conversations were recorded by the Washington-based Environmental Investigation Agency during the past two months, the company said.

They were secretly videotaped by two unknown individuals posing as representatives of a Hong Kong-based investment firm with links to a Chinese State-Owned Enterprise.

(Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Yereth Rosen in Anchorage; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

09/23/2020 22:53

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