Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby Cruiser » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:03 am

I believe one of the biggest threats to the BWCA this century will be the copper-nickel mining which is currently being proposed over an increasingly large area of the Arrowhead country, including current mineral leases less than 1 mile from the BWCA boundary (Spruce Road, near the Kawishiwi River). There is no industry on the planet which has polluted more water than this type of mining. Not only will water quality be threatened, but other issues will be noise and regional haze. Our elected officials are enabling these foreign entities by selling off large tracts (6,700 acres to Polymet) of Superior National Forest land. The mining companies have endless resources with which to broadcast their propoganda. The presentation of the grim realities of the "other side of the story", is left to volunteers. One such volunteer source of information is http://www.sosbluewaters.org/
Cruiser
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 6:42 pm
Location: Two Harbors

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Alert on HR 4292: Superior National Forest Land Adjustment

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:01 pm

Alert on HR 4292: Superior National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 2007

HR 4292 mandates a sale of approximately 6,700 forested/wetland acres of Superior National Forest land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, to PolyMet, Inc., a Canadian company hoping to open the first metallic sulfide copper strip mine in Minnesota. The U.S. Forest Service owns the surface rights to the land, but not the mineral rights. The underlying purpose of this bill would be to benefit the mining company by eluding steps in the standard land exchange process which includes public comment and environmental review.

Progressing with land transfer before completion of the environmental process

According to HR 4292, the U.S. Forest Service would be required to sell 6,700 acres of public land to PolyMet before completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This is contrary to the National Environmental Policy Act (1969) and negates the purpose of the EIS, which is to allow for disclosure of environmental impacts of an action and for public input. There is an existing process for the Forest Service to exchange lands with private companies but exchange takes place after review that is open to the public in the form of an Environmental Impact Statement. This bill would circumvent that existing process.

This bill would also require the U.S. Forest Service to assume the responsibility for wetland replacement over a ten year period. The Army Corps of Engineers, in conjunction with the Forest Service, is responsible for assessing impacts and mitigation alternatives for wetlands as part of the PolyMet EIS process. In addition, the Wetland Conservation Act of Minnesota is intended to prevent further loss of wetlands within the State. Thus HR 4292 is contrary to both Federal and State law.

HR 4292 further disregards public input by specifically denying appeal of the outcome.

Special favors for mining companies

The U. S. Forest Service owns less than half of the mineral estate in the Superior National Forest and in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Likewise, the Forest Service lacks mineral rights to many of its lands nationwide. This bill, if passed, could set precedence for the sale of public lands to private mining companies across the country. It would also open the doors for more than a dozen other mining companies who are currently exploring the Duluth Complex of rocks throughout Minnesota and other sulfide mineral deposits in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These sulfide-bearing rocks encompass an area that extends underneath the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and between Voyageurs National Park and Lake Superior, before dipping down into the southern part of the state.

Ignoring potential harm to the environment

At the same time that a bill designed solely to help PolyMet bypass existing environmental and public disclosure law is being circulated through the halls of Congress, PolyMet is downplaying the potential effects of acid mine drainage. Sulfuric acid is a byproduct of metallic sulfide mining and in all previous mines required perpetual treatment of any affected watershed.

PolyMet spokesmen claim their company is "following all of Minnesota's environmental laws." HR 4292 seems contradictory to this statement.

Action requested: Concerned citizens need to contact their U.S. representative, and Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman in opposition to HR 4292. More specifically, citizens can request an explanation from Rep. Oberstar regarding the intention of this bill to circumvent current environmental law, to sell public land for private investment, and to ignore opportunity for public input as part of the environmental impact statement process.

Senator Amy Klobuchar is poised to introduce a companion bill in the Senate!

We need to convince Sen. Klobuchar not to introduce that bill. You can help today by contacting her and your newspapers.

E-Mail: senator@klobuchar.senate.gov
Web site: http://klobuchar.senate.gov/
Toll Free: 1-888-224-9043

302 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
phone: 202-224-3244
fax: 202-228-2186

More info:
http://www.sosbluewaters.org/oberstar.htm
User avatar
PaddlerJimmy
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:18 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Postby Jimi » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:39 am

Special favors for mining companies? Near the Wilderness? Who'd a thunk?
Life is like a portage.
User avatar
Jimi
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:05 pm
Location: Peoria

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Hoyt Lakes land-sale plan erupting into clash of titans

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:53 pm

Hoyt Lakes land-sale plan erupting into clash of titans
By Ron Way, MinnPost.com | Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008
A plan by Sen. Amy Klobuchar to quietly and quickly push legislation allowing the sale of federal land near Hoyt Lakes, Minn., to a Canadian company to expedite its plans to mine for copper, nickel and other metals is erupting into a high-stakes controversy that could rival the gaping open pit that the land sale would bring.

"This is just plain bad public policy," said Brian Pasko of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. Pasko is leading a team of local and national environmental groups that are hurriedly organizing to go all out to defeat Klobuchar's plan.

The bill by Klobuchar and a House companion by another Minnesota DFLer, Rep. James Oberstar of Chisholm, would allow the sale of 6,700 acres of U.S. Forest Service land to Vancouver-based PolyMet Mining Corp., a move that would circumvent a more transparent — and time-consuming — land-exchange process.

Both sides see the fight, which will begin in earnest when Congress convenes early in September, as critical.

Mine seen as economic boost to area
PolyMet needs the land to keep plans moving to begin mining operations as soon as it receives state permits, possibly early next year. The company says hundreds of construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs would come with the $380 million mine, something that's seen as giving a boost to a Northeast Minnesota economy wracked by a downturn in logging and, even, a historic falloff in iron-mining jobs.

Environmental advocates worry about the potential for deadly sulfides from the mines, something they say has been the unwanted stepchild of every similar mine in the world.

PolyMet is the first of several companies poised to begin mining operations in Minnesota, and so what happens with it is seen as a "template" for government decision-making to follow.

Sen. Amy KlobucharBecause Klobuchar would seek to push her bill in an abbreviated congressional session in September, the likely strategy is to skip public hearings and attach it as an amendment to another bill that's expected to move. One candidate is the Omnibus Lands Bill by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., even though Bingaman has said he prefers no amendments.

Public hearings not ruled out
Klobuchar spokesman Lee Sheehy said the senator has not ruled out public hearings. He said the bill would authorize a land sale only after the state's environmental impact statement process is completed and all permits are received; Sheehy also said proceeds from the sale must be used to acquire other comparable lands to be added to the Superior National Forest.

As is typical in Northeast Minnesota and other areas of mineralization, land ownership is severed between subsurface and surface. In this case, PolyMet owns the subsurface, where the minerals are, but federal ownership of the surface would prevent an open pit mine that PolyMet says is needed (other copper-nickel mines in the area are expected to be mostly underground).

Pasko says the established procedure for resolving such issues is a land exchange in which the company would acquire comparable land elsewhere in the region and donate it to the Forest Service. But that would take two or more years to accomplish, which the company sees as adding unnecessarily to the three years and $15 million it's already spent on the environmental impact statement process (the long delayed environmental report is expected in late September).

So it's political muscle time, once again pitting Iron Range DFLers and allied unions against other Democrats and a well-organized and well-funded environmental community that has lots of friends in Congress and among Twin Cities DFLers. The last time the political titans clashed in Washington was over legislation in the 1960s and 1970s that established the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and political wounds from those celebrated fights are still being licked.

Sen. Norm Coleman Both senators support bill
"You can't get elected to office up here if you're opposed to mining," said Ely outfitter Steve Paragis. Indeed, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has signed onto Klobuchar's bill, and earlier his DFL rival in this fall's election, Al Franken, reportedly told the Mesabi Daily News of Virginia, Minn., that he wasn't seeking endorsement from the Sierra Club, long seen as a perpetual critic of most industrial activity that the Northeast region holds dear.

Sheehy said that the Oberstar and Klobuchar land-sale legislation was drafted with the full support of Northeastern Minnesota politicians. That would include such heavyweights as state Sen. Tom Bakk of Cook, chair of the Senate Tax Committee, and House Majority Leader Tony Sertich of Chisholm.

PolyMet would operate the first of what is expected to be several large mines that would extract low quantities of copper, nickel, and other precious metals including cobalt, platinum, palladium and gold from rock deep below the surface along a narrow strip in what's called the "Duluth Complex" of St. Louis and Lake counties in Minnesota's Arrowhead region.

Less than 1 percent of the mineralized areas contain metals of economic value, which means that 99 percent of the rock removed would be stored in tailings mounds. Unlike taconite tailings (by comparison, about 75 percent of rock removed for taconite is waste to be stored above ground), the waste from copper-nickel contains sulfides that combine with water and air to form sulfuric acid that's deadly to fish and other aquatic life.

Sulfides come with the minerals
Minerals in the ore-bearing rock attach to sulfides, so to remove the minerals means the sulfides come along with it.

Frank Ongaro, executive director of MiningMinnesota, a pro-mining group, said that 4 billion tons of ore lie in the Duluth Complex region, meaning that copper-nickel mining could be around for a very long time — and meaning also that massive quantities of sulfide rock would be piled across the region posing broad environmental threats.

Environmental advocates note that while mining companies would leave upon exhaustion of mining operations, the tailings would remain forever with sulfuric acid leaching into surface waterways.

After PolyMet, the next likely mining operation would be by Spokane-based Franconia Minerals, whose planned underground mine at Birch Lake a few miles north and east is seen as employing nearly 600.

Seen as threat to the watershed
But it's also seen as posing a threat to the watershed that drains into the BWCA, something that is especially worrisome to Pasko at Friends of the BWCA and to property owners on White Iron lake next to the BWCA that is fed by Birch Lake (PolyMet's operations are in the watershed that drains to Lake Superior via the St. Louis River).

In fact, Pasko said, there are several copper-nickel exploratory drill holes within a quarter mile of the famous canoe wilderness.

The watchword by mining advocates, environmental advocates, state regulatory officials and political leaders is to make certain that copper-nickel sulfide mining "is done right."

"If it cannot be done right it shouldn't be done at all," Bakk has said.

The question that everyone involved will be debating is exactly what is meant by "doing it right"?



Image
User avatar
PaddlerJimmy
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:18 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel miniing near the BWCA

Postby Cruiser » Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:03 am

DNR to offer state lands for metallic minerals exploration (August 26, 2008)
http://www.sosbluewaters.org/News_release.htm

These sales will extend mining into new, previously never mined areas of Minnesota's Arrowhead region. The Ely area lease sale extends from White Iron Lake, west to Vermilion and from the Eagles Nest lakes, north to Burntside. This lease sale will come within one-fourth mile of the BWCA near Burntside Lake.
http://www.sosbluewaters.org/Ely_Lease_Sale_Map.htm

Also included will be about 70,000 acres of property in the Brimson-Bassett-Ault-Fairbanks townships,20 miles SE of Hoyt Lakes.

The mining companies are stating they have new technologies that will prevent the heavily contaminated(acidity and heavy metals) watersheds that traditionally are a by-product of this type of mining(sulfide). Don't believe it! :(
Cruiser
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 6:42 pm
Location: Two Harbors

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel miniing near the BWCA

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:26 pm

Hope, and fears, on the Range
As a new Iron Range mining venture edges closer to reality, environmentalists warn of water pollution.
By LARRY OAKES, Star Tribune
Last update: October 18, 2008 - 8:53 PM


HOYT LAKES, MINN. - After years of hard times for Minnesota's Iron Range, a Canadian corporation is offering a tantalizing mix of promises.

PolyMet Mining is planning a $600 million construction project on the site of a bankrupt taconite mine in Hoyt Lakes. The project would bring more than $80 million annually in tax revenue and 400 jobs in a lucrative new vein of mining -- for copper, nickel, cobalt, platinum and even gold.

But as Iron Range politicians plan for a prosperous leap out of the region's iron age, environmentalists are urging the state to reject nonferrous mining as too dangerous to lakes and rivers. They say metallic sulfide ore of the type that PolyMet and several other companies hope to mine has a notorious history. When it's exposed to air and water, it leaches sulfuric acid and toxic metals into nearby watersheds, poisoning wildlife.

The well-known phenomenon, called "acid mine drainage," can appear decades after companies have gone. Several abandoned mines in the West are now federal Superfund sites, with taxpayers footing the bill for cleanup and perpetual water treatment. Butte, Mont., was left with a pit lake so acidic that 340 migrating snow geese died after landing there in 1995.

Sulfide mining in Wisconsin caused so much controversy that in 1997 the state outlawed it unless a company can cite an example of a North American sulfide mine that operated 10 years without polluting ground or surface water, and one mothballed 10 years without leaching such pollution.

No company has tried to mine known deposits of sulfide ore in Wisconsin since such proof was made a requirement. "They're boring holes all over the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and in northern Minnesota, but no one is doing it here," said Philip Fauble, mining coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Impact study due

Supporters of nonferrous mining for Minnesota say sulfur concentrations are lower here than in many places and are less apt to produce acid mine drainage.

PolyMet also says it will use some of the cleanest technology available to process the ore and manage the waste rock. The innovations include reducing ore in an enclosed "autoclave," an industrial pressure cooker that will consume much of the sulfur as fuel and produce very low emissions compared with old-technology smelters.

Waste rock with the potential to produce acid will be reburied and landscaped atop liners designed to catch runoff and divert it for treatment. The company also agreed to set up "bankruptcy proof" reclamation funds for water treatment and other potential cleanup costs.

"The ultimate goal of PolyMet's approach is to have a minimum impact on the environment and to protect our air and water resources," said LaTisha Gietzen, vice president of public, government and environmental affairs.

The company has spent more than $40 million so far proving the feasibility of mining the 800-foot-deep ore formation that geologists call the "Duluth Complex." About $15 million of that has gone toward a three-year environmental review coordinated by state, federal and tribal regulators who are working to complete a draft environmental impact statement as soon as this month.

Next: 45 days of comments
Publication of the environmental impact statement will trigger a 45-day comment period, after which the state will consider whether to issue mining permits to PolyMet.

Among the steps taken by the team of 25 experts working on the study was to visit sulfide mines in Ontario, where the climate and hydrology are similar to Hoyt Lake, and a mine in Nevada that is using an autoclave, said Stuart Arkley, coordinator of the review for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"PolyMet is proposing applying relatively new technology to a relatively low-grade ore body, so there isn't a lot out there to compare it to," he said.

Arkley said that, despite the diligence of PolyMet and the regulators, the public should not expect a benign mine.

"There's no such thing as an industrial site that doesn't cause some level of pollution, some level of impact," he said."

Environmental groups are considering legal action to block or at least alter the project. Last month, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy wrote the DNR that it would be illegal under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act to permit the project without a thorough analysis of the feasibility of mining the ore underground rather than in an open pit. The organization said an underground mine would have a smaller footprint, and it warned that it would take "appropriate steps" to make sure that option is fully analyzed.

While the DNR has not formally responded, Gietzen of PolyMet and Arkley of the DNR said in e-mails that the underground option had been analyzed and so far doesn't appear feasible, in large part because the ore deposit comes within feet of the surface.

'Fear factor' debated

PolyMet's promises have made a believer out of Hoyt Lakes Mayor Marlene Pospeck, who watched 1,400 taconite miners lose their jobs when LTV Steel Mining Co. went bankrupt in 2001.

"The technology they plan to use is nothing like the methods that caused problems elsewhere," Pospeck said.

Iron Range legislators also have hailed the project, and in Congress, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Jim Oberstar introduced bills that would allow the Superior National Forest to sell PolyMet 6,700 acres.

Democrats Klobuchar and Oberstar say that the legislation, requested by the Forest Service, would be good for the environment because the land has been mined and logged over, and the Forest Service would use the proceeds from the sale to buy better land. In an interview, Oberstar said that as long as state and federal regulators determine the ore can be mined safely, the project should proceed.

Opponents say politicians are too focused on the promised benefits of the project and not concerned enough about what Minnesota could lose.

Technology proving grounds

The Sierra Club, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and other groups argue that sulfide mining's history is too disastrous to allow any state watersheds to be used as proving grounds for new technology.

While any discharges from PolyMet would drain through the St. Louis River watershed to Lake Superior, other companies are test-drilling on sites that would drain through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to the Rainy River.

"The BWCA and the Superior National Forest cannot be used as guinea pigs," and John Doberstein of Two Harbors, chairman of the Mining Without Harm Campaign for the Sierra Club's North Star Chapter.

Larry Oakes • 218-727-7344
User avatar
PaddlerJimmy
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:18 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:08 pm

Legislation would force rules on copper mines
By: John Myers , Duluth News Tribune, 2/18/09

Minnesota lawmakers plan Thursday to introduce legislation that would establish new rules for how copper mines would operate in the state, including how they would handle environmental issues after the mines close.

The rules would prohibit the state Department of Natural Resources from issuing permits for mines if long-term plans foresee ongoing water-treatment issues after the operations close. At particular issue is acid runoff caused when high-sulfur rock is exposed to air and water in the mining process.

“Everyone wants jobs, especially these days. And if they can do it right, there will be [copper mining] jobs,” said Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul. “But this is a different kind of mining. When water runs off iron ore mines, you get rust. When water runs off copper mines, you get sulfuric acid.”

The new rules also would require that money be set aside before operations begin to cover all possible costs of closing mines and restoring any environmental damage caused by mining and processing.

Frank Ongaro, executive director of Mining Minnesota, a coalition of copper-mining ventures, said some of the elements in the legislation, such as requiring financial assurances for mine closure, already exist in state rules. But he said the requirement prohibiting ongoing treatment will kill any copper mine proposal.

“We’re extremely disappointed in this legislation,” Ongaro said.

Ongaro said the Legislature should stay out of the issue and allow state agencies to enforce existing laws and rules.

“No additional restrictions are necessary,” Ongaro said.

Supporters of the legislation, including the Friends of the Boundary Waters and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, say the rules aren’t a moratorium on copper mining but require that any mines operate responsibly without leaving a polluted legacy.

“Wisconsin has a law that’s an effective moratorium on this kind of mine. And there are some environmental groups in Minnesota that would like us to do that. But we aren’t going that far,” Hausman said. “We’re just saying taxpayers will not be left holding the bag for millions of dollars of cleanup long after the company is gone.”

While the legislation would affect any development for copper or so-called non-ferrous mining, its first target is the PolyMet mine and processing plant.

PolyMet proposes to invest $600 million in the project that would mine near Babbitt and process the copper, nickel and other precious metals at the site of the former LTV Steel Mining Co. taconite plant near Hoyt Lakes. The operation would employ about 400 people for the 30-year life of the mine and hundreds more during construction. It would be Minnesota’s first industrial copper mine.

While at least four other ventures are considering copper mining plans, only PolyMet has advanced well into the environmental review process. The company hopes to begin operations next year.

The state DNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have conducted a joint draft environmental review of the PolyMet proposal that was due last year but still has not been released. The draft has been delayed as regulators seek more detail on how the company will deal with lost wetlands, mine waste and acid runoff.

Even after the review is complete, the company still must apply for specific permits to mine, as well as air and water pollution permits.

A PolyMet spokeswoman could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

While iron-ore mining has generally avoided environmental controversy, conservation groups are sounding warnings about copper mining. Because copper is locked in rock that is usually high in sulfur, that sulfur often is released when it is exposed to air and water. That acidic runoff can kill organisms in streams and has been a problem at many of the world’s copper mines through history.

But PolyMet officials say that won’t be a problem at their mine because sulfur concentrations are so low. Moreover, the company plans to store waste rock on special membranes to capture any runoff. The company also plans to treat water as it leaves the mine.

While the company holds mineral rights to the land where the mine is proposed, it does not actually own the land. The U.S. Forest Service still has the title to the property. PolyMet has been negotiating to buy private land in the vicinity and then trade that land to the Forest Service. But that process is slow because it involves dozens of other private landowners and could take months or to complete, said Jim Sanders, supervisor of the Superior National Forest.

PolyMet also has said it has considered legal action against the Forest Service but so far has not pursued that option. Legislation in Congress to allow the Forest Service to sell the land directly to PolyMet has not advanced.
User avatar
PaddlerJimmy
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:18 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:31 pm

PolyMet environmental impact statement made public
The statement, more than four years in the making, aims to explain how the proposed PolyMet “NorthMet” copper mine, the state's first copper mine, and processing center could operate within state and federal environmental rules and regulations.

By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune, Published October 28 2009

Minnesota’s first copper mine is a step closer to reality this morning after the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a long-awaited environmental review to the public.

The draft environmental impact statement, more than four years in the making, aims to explain how the proposed PolyMet “NorthMet” copper mine and processing center could operate within state and federal environmental rules and regulations.

The environmental report is open to public comments before the DNR and Corps make finishing touches. The company then must apply for and obtain permits for water and air pollution and to dig a mine at the site.

PolyMet is proposing Minnesota’s first copper mine that also would produce nickel, platinum and other valuable metals. The site of the proposed open-pit mine is near Babbitt, while the company would use the former LTV Steel taconite plant near Hoyt Lakes as a processing center.

The $600 million project would create 400 or more jobs for more than 20 years, digging and processing billions of dollars of high-value minerals. The project is seen as a critical step toward diversifying the Iron Range’s dependence on iron-ore mining and is the first of what could be a half-dozen or more copper mines stretching from the Ely area to Aitkin County.

But several environmental groups, tribal agencies, Northland residents and even the federal Environmental Protection Agency have been critical of the proposal because of the long history of pollution at other copper mines worldwide.

Opponents say sulfuric acid runoff, which occurs when sulfur-bearing rocks are exposed to air and water, could damage waterways in the area for centuries to come. Other concerns include wetland and habitat loss and an increase in toxic mercury in local waters.

Company officials say, and the environmental impact statement proposes, that the rock in the proposed mine area is unusually low in sulfur for a copper deposit. They also contend that they can use new technology to minimize acid runoff and treat any that occurs.

The draft environmental impact statement, a review of all the possible environmental issues surrounding the project, is considered critical because it not only sets up the scenario for how PolyMet may move forward but is expected to set precedent for a half-dozen or more additional copper mine proposals possible in coming years from Babbitt to Aitkin County.

After public comments and revisions by the DNR and Corps of Engineers, the environmental review will become final and the company is expected to apply for permits to mine and to create air and water pollution.

In addition, PolyMet, while it owns mineral rights to the mine site, still does not own the property where the mine would be located. The company is in the process of a land trade with the U.S. Forest Service. But the company must first secure an equal value of private land within the Superior National Forest to trade for the mine. That could take many more months.


•The draft environmental impact statement report on the proposed PolyMet copper mine can be seen at the DNR Web site.


•Public comments will be accepted by the DNR and Corps of Engineers beginning Monday. It’s not yet clear how long comments will be accepted.

For more information, contact Stuart Arkley, EIS Project Manager, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN, 55155-4025; e-mail environmentalrev.dnr@state.mn.us or call (651) 259-5089. Be sure to include "NorthMet" in the subject line of e-mails.
User avatar
PaddlerJimmy
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:18 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby GUEST » Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:13 pm

The statement, the ore body is "unusually low in sulfur", is directly related to the fact it is unusually low in metals, less than one percent. The sulfur vs. metal ratio go hand in hand. This just means the waste rock volume will be unusually large, thus negating the fictitious "low sulfur" benefit. As the volume of waste roch increases, so does the inability to manage the runoff. Imagine a liner leak, 30 years from now, underneath a 500 million ton pile of waste rock! To continuously state the percentage of sulfur, without relating it to the volume of waste, is an example of how these companies manipulate the public to support their projects.

Todd R. Two Harbors, MN
User avatar
GUEST
 
Posts: 461
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:25 pm

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby GUEST » Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:49 pm

I say we should welcome new industy that can balance environmental needs and at the same time provide jobs and resources which can strengthen our communities. These are not just jobs, but jobs with a living wage we can raise our families on...and if we can utilize new technologies to become a leader in environmentally friendly mining I believe she should offer our support. I value MN's focus on environmental stewardship and I also value industry and business leaders who are looking to our communities to invest in the future. These are not mutually exclusive; I think we should all do our part to look closer at the EIS, share our concerns and use this opportunity to build dialogue...as that is the best way to incorporate and meet the needs of all citizens. I personally welcome environmentally minded companies and industries that build on Minnesota's history of stewardship & mining....we have a strong history of both here in the northland.

Corey M
Duluth
User avatar
GUEST
 
Posts: 461
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:25 pm

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby Cruiser » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:50 pm

Duluth metals announces new exploration properties sharing a 5 mile border with the BWCAW. http://www.duluthmetals.com/s/NewsRelea ... mis-Join...
The link will bring you to the press release and map. Take note their map fails to show the location of the BWCAW border, despite their 2008 annual report boasting of accomplishments, including parks and recreation resources inventories. I imagine it is more convenient to attract investors if they dont know such things that might be oppositional.
The Nor'east property is approximately 900' from Little Gabbro Lake.
mining.jpg
Mining leases vs BWCA
Cruiser
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 6:42 pm
Location: Two Harbors

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:45 pm

Copper mine near BWCA gets financing
Minneapolis Star Tribune July 24, 2010

A Canadian company has signed a deal with a global mining partner to develop a copper-nickel mine southeast of Ely, Minn., that would be larger than the controversial Polymet mine already planned on the Iron Range.

Unlike the Polymet operation -- a surface mine that environmentalists say threatens to pollute waters that run to Lake Superior -- the new mine would be underground. But its eastern edge would lie only a few miles from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, raising the possibility of any pollution quickly reaching the BWCA.

Known as the Nokomis deposit, the area is thought to be so rich in copper, nickel and precious metals that it could produce 40,000 tons a day -- possibly more -- for decades.

"We believe this project has the potential to be one of the biggest development projects in the United States in mining," said Christopher Dundas, chairman of Duluth Metals Ltd., the Toronto company that holds key mineral rights for the proposed mine.

Duluth Metals had entered into a joint venture called Twin Metals Minnesota LLC with London-based Antofagasta plc, which is furnishing $130 million to pay for feasibility and engineering studies.

Dundas said the money will make it possible for the companies to "talk to the state of Minnesota about a real project."

He said the total investment in the underground mine and above-ground processing plant could exceed $2 billion. That's two to three times the estimated cost of the Polymet copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes.

Together, the two mines could bring new vibrancy to the Iron Range, where for decades taconite was king. But environmental groups have raised concern about both projects, because of worries about pollution from tailings.

Antofagasta, one of the world's largest mining companies with $188 billion in revenue last year, owns 60 percent of the Twin Metals joint venture and has rights to increase its stake. It also is loaning $30 million to Duluth Metals to cover its exploration costs, and would arrange overall financing if the project is deemed worthy.

Polymet, based in Vancouver and backed by Swiss mining giant Glencore, has proposed a $600 million open-pit mine. After five years of environmental study, the project faces further review because of pollution risks raised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In an interview, Dundas said the ore from the proposed mine is 1,500 to 3,000 feet down. Originally, engineers considered using traditional vertical shafts, but new studies will consider building a 4- to 5-mile-long inclined tunnel starting at the mine's western edge, the farthest point from the BWCA, he said.

"We believe at this stage of planning that we can meet or exceed all of the state standards," Dundas said. "You are not really going to see or hear anything, because it is all underground."

With its financing set, Dundas said the venture is prepared to approach the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other agencies to discuss the timing of the environmental study, permit reviews and other matters. Regulatory review is expected to take several years.

Though Duluth Metals controls 3,000 acres of the deposit, the U.S. Forest Service also owns some of the land and mineral rights, Dundas added. Other land is held by private owners and the state of Minnesota, he said.
User avatar
PaddlerJimmy
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:18 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby Cruiser » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:08 pm

USFS proposes to demolish historic Kawishiwi Research Station buildings constructed by the CCC, while offering no alternative facility to provide research.
The facility is surrounded by Duluth Metals mineral leases and its destruction will be one less hurdle for the Chilean Joint Venture's EIS, but they claim its unrelated. :wink:
http://www.sosbluewaters.org/Kawishiwi_ ... on_EA.html
Cruiser
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 6:42 pm
Location: Two Harbors

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:09 pm

Chilean company and US associate to develop mining project in Minnesota
By Dustin Zarnikow – Santiago Times 8/6/2010

Jean Paul Luksic, executive president of Chilean company Antofagosta PLC, met this week with authorities and the press at the Minnesota Twins’ Target Field in Minneapolis to present the joint mining project developed with Duluth Metals – a venture now estimated to cost 2 billion US dollars.

The deal was signed last week to form Twin Metals Mining LLC. Sixty percent of Twin Metals is owned by Duluth Mining – which owns 3,000 acres of the deposit – and 40% by Antofagosta PLC, which is contributing 130 million USD to exploration and development funding over three years.

Antofagosta PLC, under certain conditions, could later expand its share by a further 25% percent, and has also agreed to contribute up to 30 million USD in addition.

The project plans to develop the Nokomis mining deposit, which is abundant in copper and nickel, as well as platinum, gold, silver and cobalt. The site, in Minnesota, is estimated to be capable of producing 40,000 tons of metals a day.

The proximity of the Nokomis site to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), a large expanse of protected forest and lakes, has raised some public concerns over the possibility of pollution.

Despite these concerns, Duluth Metals Chairman Christopher Dundas said he was optimistic about the project, given its proposed mineshaft is at the farthest point from the BWCA.

“We believe at this stage of planning that we can meet or exceed all of the state standards,” Dundas said.
User avatar
PaddlerJimmy
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:18 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby niraj » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:31 am

Shheeesh.. If it's not the trees then let's get the soil.. I suppose it will mean work so I should be happy..NOT so much.
Web Application Mania
Last edited by niraj on Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
niraj
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:26 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby bwca » Thu May 31, 2012 12:50 pm

Thousands of acres opened up to exploratory drilling near and ajacent to the BWCA:
viewtopic.php?f=88&t=2436
User avatar
bwca
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1551
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:00 pm
Location: Twin Cities

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 1

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:39 pm

NE Minn. copper-nickel deposit's estimated size grows
by Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
December 4, 2012


DULUTH, Minn. — A huge copper-nickel mine proposed for just south of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area has again increased the estimate of minerals at the site.

Twin Metals is one of several companies exploring for copper, nickel and precious metals in the Duluth complex in northern Minnesota. The area is believed to be the richest untapped deposit of these minerals in the world.

Twin Metals is the second furthest along in developing a mine proposal, after PolyMet. This new report shows a 19 percent increase in estimated minerals compared to its last filing in June, said Bob McFarlin, Twin Metals' vice president of public and government affairs.

"The pattern is the same, and that is, that Minnesota's resource, the more we learn about it, the greater the magnitude," he said.

The deposit is enough to mine for over a century, McFarlin said.

"The mineral resource of Minnesota for copper, nickel, platinum, palladium and gold, these strategic metals, is of world-class magnitude, and just presents a tremendous economic opportunity for the state," he said.

It will take Twin Metals another year or two to develop a mine plan of operation to present to state and federal regulators, McFarlin said. That will then trigger the environmental review process, which McFarlin estimates will take another seven to 10 years.

Twin Metals is co-owned by Toronto-based Duluth Metals and the Chilean mining giant Antofagasta.
User avatar
PaddlerJimmy
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:18 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby budge shinsky » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:31 pm

If you think "they'll never allow sulfide mining right up against the Boundary Waters," think again. Drive past Nickel Lake at the end of the Spruce Road near Ely and you'll find bright huge red pipes protruding from the ground. They mark prospecting test holes for sulfide ore and they lie just a few hundreds yards from the BWCAW border. The Little Gabbro Lake entry point is on that same road, less than a mile away. Who's going to want to clamber through a moonscape industrial zone of trucks, dust and noise to enter the canoe country? Do you think it's good a idea for the nation's most polluting industry to be allowed to operate right up against the nation's most beloved wilderness area? Me neither. Please lend your voice to the petition asking Gov. Dayton if sulfide mining is compatible with our canoe country: http://www.miningtruth.org/4-questions/
budge shinsky
 

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0

Re: Copper-Nickel mining near the BWCA

Postby BlueLotus » Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:27 am

Natural sources are really disappearing from the world, where man is not aware about such dangers. Time is already exceeded to act for such dangers; still we are not worried about such disasters coming. Appropriate actions should be taken to resolve such dangers.
BlueLotus
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:22 am

Invitations sent: 0
Referrals: 0


Return to Mining In or Near the BWCA

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron