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BREAKING NEWS: DNR Issues Permit to Mine for PolyMet Project!

The proposed PolyMet copper-nickel, and precious metal mine took a major step forward as the Minnesota DNR has just issued the permit to mine, stating the project meets Minnesota’s environmental protection standards.

The DNR has issued the permit to mine, six water appropriation permits, two dam safety permits, a public waters work permit, and an endangered species takings permit for the NorthMet project.  The permit to mine includes a financial assurance plan and wetland replacement plan.

According to the notice published by the DNR:

No project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated.  In issuing the permits, the DNR has concluded that the project can be built, operated, and reclaimed in compliance with Minnesota’s rigorous environmental standards, which are designed to protect human health and the environment.

This is a historic moment in the history of the state, allowing Minnesota to help supply the U.S. with the metals it needs, and putting hardworking Minnesotans in high-paying mining jobs.

Also from DNR:

Additional details on permits
Permit to Mine: This permit details the comprehensive terms and conditions, including financial assurance, developed to ensure that the NorthMet project is designed, constructed, operated, reclaimed, and closed in a way that meets the state’s mining reclamation standards.  The DNR completed a comprehensive review of PolyMet’s permit to mine application, and then drafted special conditions.  This included careful consideration of all public comments, objections, and petitions for a contested case hearing, as well as input from state, local, and tribal governments.  The DNR modified the draft permit to mine based on input received.  The approved permit to mine, consisting of the approved application, special conditions (including financial assurance), approved wetland replacement plan, and supporting documentation, will be posted on the DNR NorthMet Permit to Mine webpage.
Water Appropriation Permits: The NorthMet project requires six water appropriation permits for various construction and operation activities at the mine site and plant site.  The DNR’s comprehensive review of the company’s six water appropriation applications included consideration of input from the public and state, local, and tribal governments.  The DNR modified the draft water appropriations permits based on input received.  The approved water appropriation permits and supporting documentation will be posted on the DNR NorthMet Water Appropriation webpage.
Dam Safety Permits:  The NorthMet project requires two dam safety permits.  One permit covers the flotation tailings basin, which will be located on the site of the existing tailings basin of the historic LTV taconite facility and will receive tailings (a mixture of finely ground waste rock and water) from the NorthMet project.  The second dam safety permit covers the potential hydrometallurgical residue facility (HRF), which would receive residue (mostly gypsum) generated from a process that would use pressure and temperature reactions to extract additional precious metals beyond what can be achieved by NorthMet’s primary processing facility.  The DNR’s comprehensive review of the company’s two dam safety applications included consideration of input from the public and state, local, and tribal governments.  The DNR modified the draft dam safety permits based on input received. The two approved dam safety permits and supporting documentation will be posted on the DNR NorthMet Dam Safety webpage.
Public Waters Work Permit:  The NorthMet project requires a public waters work permit for a culvert extension to widen Dunka Road, a private road that connects the NorthMet plant site and mine site.  The DNR’s comprehensive review of the company’s public waters work permit included consideration of input from the public and state, local, and tribal governments. The approved public waters work permit and supporting documentation will be posted on the DNR NorthMet Other Permits webpage.
Endangered and Threatened Species Permit:  The NorthMet project requires an endangered and threatened species takings permit because it will eliminate known occurrences of three state-listed plant species — floating marsh marigold (Caltha natans), upswept moonwort (Botrychium ascendens), and spatulate moonwort (Botrychium spathulatum).   The takings permit includes mitigation requirements. Redacted versions of the approved takings permit and supporting documentation will be posted on the DNR NorthMet Other Permits webpage.

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