Officials Issue Permits for PolyMet Mine in Northeast Minnesota

November 01, 2018 10:17 PM

The video above is from an Jan. 2017 report. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued permits for a planned copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.


The agency said Thursday it had issued permits to Poly Met Mining Inc. for the company's proposed NorthMet mining project. But the project still requires permits from other agencies.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a permit to mine, six water appropriation permits, two dam safety permits, a public water work permit and an endangered species taking permit. 

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said: "No project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated."

During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Landwehr said the project still needs to receive additional permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

"The permit conditions are designed so that we can have confidence 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," Landwehr said during the press conference. "DNR will have continuing authority to monitor and enforce the permit conditions." 

Landwehr added that the permits includes provisions for wetland replacement and financial insurance.

"Financial insurance a package of financial instruments that are available to the state to pay for any cleanup, reclamation or long-term water treatment should the company fail to comply with the permit," he said. 

More from

DNR Rejects Request for Additional Environmental Review of PolyMet Mine

Group Seeks Another Environmental Review for PolyMet Mine

Environmentalists Urge Closer Look at PolyMet Water Permit

Environmentalists have opposed the mine for fear it could pollute pristine waters. And reaction from opponents was swift Thursday.

"We believe that the PolyMet mine is the wrong kind of mine in the wrong kind of place and it's a danger to Minnesota," said Paula Maccabe of Water Legacy.

"It will probably be hundreds of years before the pollution on this site goes away," said Aaron Klemz of the Minnesota Center For Environmental Advocacy.

PolyMet says it can operate the proposed mine near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt without harming the environment while creating hundreds of badly needed jobs on Minnesota's Iron Range.

Maccabee said environmentalists will likely appeal if permits are granted, or they could request the DNR to reconsider its decision.

Numerous lawmakers issued statements following the DNR's decision.

"As a former Iron Ranger, I'm elated to see the PolyMet project finally moving forward. This will have a huge economic impact for families on the Range; it will change their lives for the better," Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said. "It's unfortunate we had to spend 15 years fighting for it."

"Today's long overdue decision to grant permits for the PolyMet copper-nickel mine is great news for the Iron Range and for all of Minnesota," House Speaker Kurt Daudt said. "This new mine will create many good-paying jobs in Northeastern Minnesota and provide a real boost to our state's economy. This process has demonstrated our state's commitment to environmentally-sound investment and development, but also shows that we desperately need more certainty in our state's permitting process.

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