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POLYMET MINING NORTHMET PROJECT | MN

Status | Proposed – In June, 2015, the Preliminary Final EIS was submitted for internal review. A PFEIS summary document can be found at the MNDNR website here. The SDEIS is available here. (The initial Draft EIS was rated as “Environmentally Unsatisfactory-Inadequate” by the U.S. EPA.) The Final Environmental Impact Statement has been published by state and federal agencies and draft permits have been issued. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is preparing a Final Record of Decision based on the FEIS.

Location | Superior National Forest, between Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt, MN

Type of Mine | open pit – copper, nickel and precious metals

Estimated Mine Life | 20 years

Anticipated Output | 32,000 tons/day = 69.4 million lbs of copper, 9.6 million lbs of nickel, plus other trace minerals (see company website)

Concerns |

  • The low-grade ore (<1% minerals) is located in a sulfide ore body. 99% of the rock removed will be waste.

  • Waste rock will be dumped into an existing unlined waste basin. There are concerns about the stability of the 60-year old basin formerly operated by LTV. Polymet's 2-mile wide tailings basins will also be unlined. It is estimated that seepage from the basins will need to be treated for 200 years.

  • The mine and tailings basins sites will drain into the St. Louis River, a tributary to Lake Superior. The site is upstream of the Fond du Lac Reservation and other Ojibwe ceded territories. Negative impacts of the mine will disproportionatly affect tribal resources.

  • 914 acres of wetlands will be directly destroyed. As many as 8,600 acres may be damaged or impaired.

  • The U.S. Forest Service has completed a land exchange with Polymet. Polymet acquired 6,650 acres of federal lands over the mineral deposit. The Forest Service acquired 6,690 acres. (MDNR fact sheet)

 

Projected Jobs Created | 360 direct, 600 indirect (see company website)

Company Website | polymetmining.com/northmet-project/overview/

State Agency Website | 

dnr.state.mn.us/input/environmentalreview/polymet/index.html

Additional Information | The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and Waterlegacy are actively monitoring the Polymet Project.

Notes | This summary was assembled with information from the Polymet website, state agency websites and the Waterlegacy website.

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