fbpx

Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Army Corps of Engineers Grants Final Permit for PolyMet Mine

The following article originally appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

ST. PAUL, Minn. — PolyMet Mining Corp. has received the final permit it needs to proceed with building Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine, the company and the Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday.

The Corps said it issued the permit late Tuesday. It deals with the steps PolyMet must take to mitigate the project’s effects on wetlands. The announcement said the project will impact 500 fewer acres of wetlands than PolyMet’s original proposal.

“We are confident that we have identified an appropriately balanced alternative and proffered a permit that will allow access to an important mineral resource, while maximizing protection to natural resources including wetlands,” Col. Sam Calkins, commander of the Corps’ St Paul District, said in a statement.

In a separate statement, PolyMet called it a “historic achievement” that will let it move forward with Minnesota’s first copper-nickel-precious mine.

“It’s a really big day for us,” spokesman Bruce Richardson said.

PolyMet and its supporters say the projects near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt would create hundreds of jobs in northeastern Minnesota. Environmentalists have long fought the project because the vast but untapped reserves of copper, nickel and precious metals underneath the region are in the form of sulfide minerals, which can leach sulfuric acid and other toxic chemicals when exposed to the environment. They’ve also raised questions about the safety of the dam that will hold back its mine waste pond.

Minnesota regulators issued the other key permits for the project last year. But the mine still faces litigation that could hold it up, including challenges to its state-issued permits before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and lawsuits pending in federal court that seek to void a land swap between the company and the federal government.

Polymet’s critics denounced the final permit. The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy tweeted that it will lead to the largest permitted destruction of wetlands in Minnesota history.

“Nearly a thousand acres of irreplaceable wetlands will be destroyed, and thousands of acres will be adversely impacted by PolyMet’s toxic copper-sulfide mine. This is an unacceptable degradation of the headwaters of Lake Superior and must be stopped,” said Lori Andresen, president of Save Our Sky Blue Waters, said in a statement.

While a lot of site preparation work and planning for final engineering and construction work is underway, Richardson said PolyMet’s focus now shifts to raising the $945 million it needs for construction financing. That process could take several months, he said.

The financial work also includes paying off debt coming due to PolyMet’s largest investor, Swiss commodities giant Glencore AG. PolyMet’s statement also announced an agreement with Glencore on how they’ll proceed with that.

“We would not be where we are today, we would not have these permits, without the support and backing of Glencore,” Richardson said. “This agreement shows that they continue to support and have confidence in this project.”

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • Morning in Minnesota: St. Cloud

    Location: St. Cloud

    Sign up HERE! Courtyard by Marriott St. Cloud 404 West Saint Germain Street St. Cloud, MN, 56301 Please join Center of the American Experiment on Tuesday, July 21 for breakfast with Center policy fellow and education expert Catrin Wigfall as she explains K-12 education in the state and its persistent disparities despite decades of increased spending. Following her presentation, Catrin will lead a Q&A session. 7:30 AM Check In and Breakfast 8:00 AM Presentation 9:00 AM Conclude   Catrin Wigfall is a Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment. She is also the director of EducatedTeachersMN and EmployeeFreedomMN. Catrin’s…

    Register Now
  • Morning in Minnesota: Marshall

    Location: Marshall Golf Club

      Sign up for this event HERE! Please join Center of the American Experiment on Thursday, July 16 at Marshall Golf Club for a breakfast with Center economist, John Phelan, as he discusses Minnesota’s economic future. Following his presentation, John will lead a Q&A session. 7:30 AM Check In and Breakfast 8:00 AM Presentation 9:00 AM Conclude John Phelan is a graduate of Birkbeck College, University of London, where he earned a BSc in Economics, and of the London School of Economics where he earned an MSc. He worked in finance for ten years before becoming a professional economist. He…

    Register Now
  • 2020 Annual Dinner Featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders- Now in September!

    Location: Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom 1301 2nd Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55403

    NEW SEPTEMBER DATE: We have made the difficult decision to once again move the date of this event. We will now host our Annual Dinner on Saturday, September 19th. All tickets bought for the April 4th, or June 18th dates are transferrable. We are so sorry for any inconvenience this has caused, but we look forward to seeing you on September 19! Direct any questions to Kathryn Hinderaker (kathryn.hinderaker@americanexperiment.org or 612-428-7005).   American President: The Unorthodox Approach to Politics that Changed the World. Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as White House Press Secretary for President Donald J. Trump from 2017 to…

    Register Now