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Minnesota DNR seeks public feedback on PolyMet’s copper-nickel mine project

EBR Staff Writer Published 18 September 2017

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has formally launched a process to seek public opinion on a copper-nickel mine project proposed to be developed by PolyMet Mining in northeastern Minnesota.

In this connection, the Minnesota regulator has released two draft dam safety permits and a draft public waters work permit for the proposed copper-nickel mine project dubbed as NorthMet mining.

PolyMet Mining has been looking to build the project in the St. Louis River basin, south of the Laurentian Divide near Hoyt Lakes.

According to the Minnesota-based miner, the draft dam safety permits from DNR are two of the most important permits needed to construct and operate the copper-nickel-precious metals project.

On the other hand, the draft public waters work permit is needed for a culvert extension on Unnamed Creek to widen the Dunka Road which connects the proposed NorthMet plant site and mine site.

Through the dam safety permits, the design, construction and operating parameters of a proposed flotation tailings basin and a new hydrometallurgical residue facility will be established. The two structures will be used for impounding water.

PolyMet Mining president and CEO Jon Cherry said: “The tailings basin was one of the most studied aspects of the NorthMet Project during the comprehensive state and federal environmental review of the project that concluded in 2016.

“We take the design, construction and operation of the tailings impoundment very seriously and have taken extra measures to ensure a safe and stable design.

“The science shows that not only can we be protective of water and other natural resources, but we will make a substantial contribution to addressing legacy reclamation issues at the site.”

Apart from the two dam safety permits and the public waters work permit, the copper-nickel mine would require nine more DNR permits, along with various other state, federal and local permits and approvals to move ahead.

Image: PolyMet NorthMet Project in northeastern Minnesota. Photo: courtesy of PolyMet Mining, Inc.