(Adds detail on charities, context on Pebble project.)
TORONTO, April 7 Global miner Rio Tinto
said on Monday it will give away its 19.1 percent stake in
Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd, owner of Alaska's huge
Pebble deposit, after determining that the project does not fit
Rio is donating its shares to two Alaskan charities, the
The move is a fresh setback for a project that environmental
regulators are looking to block.
In February, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
initiated a rarely used process under the Clean Water Act that
would block development of the copper-gold deposit, one of the
largest in the world, citing the potential of "irreversible
harm" to the state's salmon fishery.
Rio said in December it was considering selling its stake
. In September, a second global mining group,
Anglo American Plc, pulled out of the project.
Half of Rio's shares will go to the Alaska Community
Foundation and the other half will go to the Bristol Bay Native
Corporation Education Foundation, the company said.
Northern Dynasty said it would meet with the leaders of the
charitable foundations "to better understand their long-term
goals and aspirations."
(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Frank McGurty and