Talon Metals learns you can’t appease your way into a mining permit

On Tuesday, Minnesota Public Radio reported that environmental groups, including the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, have launched a campaign aimed at stopping the proposed Tamarack mine. The mine was proposed by Talon Metals as a way to boost domestic production of nickel, a key ingredient in electric car batteries.

Talon Metals, which hopes to submit a mining plan to state agencies in the second quarter of this year, is learning the hard way that no matter how much they try to appease anti-mining activists, these activists will always oppose every nonferrous mining project in Minnesota.

In January of 2022, after anti-mining groups accused PolyMet of “greenwashing” mining because their copper and nickel would be sold on the global metal markets and wouldn’t necessarily go toward wind turbines or electric vehicle batteries, Talon signed a supply agreement to provide nickel to Tesla, the largest provider of electric vehicles in the United States.

It didn’t matter.

In February of 2022, Rio Tinto and Talon announced that they would seek to capture carbon dioxide from the air and permanently store it in waste rock at the mine because magnesium-rich rocks that often accompany high-grade nickel deposits naturally react with carbon dioxide, turning it into rock. 

It didn’t matter.

In October of 2022, in response to concerns over mineral processing and mine tailings management in Minnesota, Talon Announced it would ship the ore to North Dakota, where it would build a battery mineral processing plant to reduce environmental impacts in Minnesota.

It didn’t matter.

Nonferrous mines in Minnesota must go through a rigorous environmental review, and regulators must decide whether or not the mine will meet Minnesota’s stringent environmental standards, and we hope the Tamarack project can meet these standards.

It appears Talon Metals has tried to go above and beyond what is required in order to curry favor with environmental groups, only to learn that they will always loathe mining projects, no matter what kind of mitigations are put in place.