Skip to main content

PolyMet's NorthMet mine gets last needed permit from Army Corps of Engineers

This clears the way for construction of the mine.

PolyMet's long-simmering NorthMet mine project has been issued a key permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, paving the way for the mine's construction.

The St. Paul District, in its announcement, said it issued the individual permit late Thursday for the proposed precious metals mine on land near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt in Minnesota's Iron Range.

"This has been a very carefully weighed decision," said Col. Sam Calkins, commander of the St Paul District., in the release.

The permit allows PolyMet to discharge dredged and fill material into 901 acres, with indirect impacts to 27 acres, as part of the construction and development process.

The Minnesota DNR and Pollution Control Agency approved a litany of permits for the NorthMet mine last year, leaving the Army Corps of Engineers as the final permit hurdle for PolyMet to clear.

PolyMet now holds all the permits necessary to start work, the company notes.

Jon Cherry, president and CEO, said the company is "proud to be the first mining company to be fully permitted to responsibly build and operate a copper-nickel-precious metals mine within the world-class Duluth Complex."

About the project

The project would see the refurbishment of the former LTV Steel Mining processing plant pictured above. Throughout the process, the state has had to weigh up the potential environmental impacts from the project with the boost to the economy in the state's Iron Range.

The company insists it will operate the mine responsibly over the course of its 20-year life. Mining would go as deep as 700 feet beneath the surface, and over those two decades in operation ultimately supply about 225 million tons of ore.

Plus, jobs. PolyMet estimates 360 positions at the mine, hundreds more jobs created indirectly, and $515 million in economic benefit to St. Louis County – all key factors for an Iron Range hit with layoffs and economic slowdowns in recent years.

Opponents however say it's too big of an environmental risk, no matter what precautions are taken.

Friends of the Boundary Waters, for example, argues it's a bad deal for taxpayers and the public, as the risks to nearby waters – specifically the St. Louis River, Lake Superior, and downstream communities – are too great.

Wildlife could be impacted too. That's what prompted a lawsuit from two groups, as they argued it would destroy the habitat of two threatened species – the gray wolf and the Canada lynx.

Next Up

20211010_Vikings_Lions_REG05_0560

What does the future hold for the Vikings at linebacker?

Anthony Barr is hitting free agency, and Eric Kendricks is approaching age 30

vehicle car

String of vehicle thefts in St. Paul, most left running unattended

The department is urging people not to leave their car running unattended.

kid hospital doctor

Child COVID hospitalizations reach pandemic-high in northern MN

As omicron surges, more kids are ending up in the hospital.

ice fishing close unsplash

'It's disgusting': Anglers dumping sewage on to popular ice fishing lake

A local CO told Bring Me The News it's people in newer, RV-style wheel houses.

Alejandro Rios and Michael Steward

Reward offered for information on 2021 double fatal shooting in St. Paul

It's been a year since Alejandro Rios and Michael Stewart were found dead on the sidewalk.

Peyton Manning John Randle Twitter

What was Peyton Manning doing in Minnesota?

It's apparently for an upcoming episode of his TV show, "Peyton's Place."

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 25

The test positivity rate has dropped for the first time since before Christmas.

liz collin wcco youtube screengrab

Liz Collin reveals she is leaving WCCO

"Thank you for trusting me to tell your stories," she wrote in Tuesday's announcement.

jimmy john's rochester antimask rant guy

Video: Man harasses Jimmy John's workers, wishes death on them over mask mandate

"When are you going to start using that brain inside of your head," the man asks.

Related

DNR gives green light to PolyMet mine in northeast Minnesota

The project is opposed by eco-groups over pollution fears..

Court orders inquiry into PolyMet mining project permit

The Minnesota Court of Appeals found "irregularities" in comments submitted by the EPA.

Leaked email calls into question approval of PolyMet mine permit

The EPA was apparently asked to keep its concerns about the project out of the public record.

wetlands

Army Corps of Engineers pulls PolyMet's wetlands permit

This comes as the EPA is doing a 90-day review of the project.

PolyMet nears a key mining permit – but the NorthMet project is still not a done deal

So how close is the NorthMet copper-nickel mine to actually being built?