The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled against Polymet Mining’s Northmet mine, sending the decision over dam-safety permits back to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for deliberation, and in effect delaying mining activity.
Now the DNR will host a contested-case hearing for Northmet, a copper, nickel, and precious metals mine. Polymet released a statement in which it reiterated the project’s comprehensive scientific study, analysis, and public review and comment as dictated by state law, all of which date back 15 years. Additionally, the miner did not rule out filing a petition for review to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
NorthMet will make use of rehabilitated one-time LTV Steel processing facility in addition to the actual mine deposits, and has already established infrastructure, including rail, roads, utilities and supplier networks around the area. The open pit mine has a depth of 700 feet.
However, at issue is the possibility of either acid mine drainage or mercury problems resulting from the minerals’ sulfites, which would seep into the water system and require heavy treating before it could be drinkable for the residents of the region.