Skip to main content

New estimates of precious metals near Ely could surpass $100 billion

A mining company exploring copper and nickel deposits southeast of Ely will update its estimate later this month. Twin Metals has drilled more than 400 holes as it puts together a picture of the deposits. One industry expert tells MPR it's already clear there's enough precious metal to keep mines busy for 60 years. The debate over whether to issue environmental permits is in the early stages, though, and any mines are still years away.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The copper and nickel contained in the rocks southeast of Ely has already been described as a "monster deposit" by the mining industry. When Twin Metals issues a new estimate of just how precious those metals are, the figure seems likely to exceed its previous number of $100 billion. MPR watched as the company tested a rock sample from one of more than 400 holes it has drilled.

There's no guarantee the minerals will ever be mined, though. Some of the most serious concerns involve the sulfide that's also contained in those rocks. That sulfide creates sulfuric acid when it's exposed to air or water. Managing the acid is one of the issues that will be part of the environmental permitting process, which is still in its early stages.

The Minnesota DNR looked this summer at the potential and the risks of new mines. MPR offered this primer on the issue.

Next Up

Prince

Commemorative street name for Prince approved in Minneapolis

The block next to the First Avenue nightclub will be named Prince Rogers Nelson Way.

storm, radar, severe weather

Monitoring severe storm threat Saturday-Tuesday in Minnesota

The holiday weekend won't be a washout, but multiple rounds of strong and severe storms are possible.

Screen Shot 2022-05-26 at 4.45.15 PM

Charges: St. Cloud meth dealer had numerous weapons. body armor

Shawn Lawrence Jacobs, 38, faces 12 felony-level charges.

3100 Bloomington Ave.

South Minneapolis tenants declare rent strike; allege unsafe conditions

A group of Powderhorn Park residents say they'll withhold May rent due to health and safety concerns.

Screen Shot 2022-05-26 at 3.11.26 PM

Threats involving 2 students at West St. Paul middle school

Police said there is no reason to be concerned for the safety of the rest of the student body at Heritage E-Stem Magnet Middle School.

North Shore Mayor Chris Swanson.

Controversial Two Harbors mayor told: Resign or face recall election

The mayor has come under scrutiny for unusual behavior this year.

Lakeville Minnesota Solar Installation - All Energy Solar

Tips for selecting a reputable solar installer

Installing solar panels is a major investment. The solar solution provider you choose should be stable and trustworthy.

3M Maplewood

3M fined $2.8M for hazardous waste violations in Cottage Grove

The company's violations spanned more than two decades.

Christopher Payne and Kaley Wethern

Couple charged after $75k worth of fentanyl pills seized during traffic stop

Christopher James Payne and Kaley Maria Wethern have been charged in the seizure.

Related

Giant mine near Ely would be 'like an underground city'

Twin Metals wants to build the largest mine in Minnesota history -- a project on par with the biggest mines in the world -- to tap into what geologists say are enormous metal deposits. The Duluth News Tribune says it would be among the most extensive private enterprises in state history.

Mining company boosts projections of 'monster deposit' near Ely

Duluth Metals, the Canadian-based parent of Twin Metals Minnesota, says new data confirms they have one of the world's largest deposits of copper, nickel and precious metals. CEO Christopher Dundas tells the Associated Press he estimates the value at more than $100 billion.

Ely wildfire 100 percent contained

Fire officials have declared a 175-acre wildfire that threatened the popular northeastern Minnesota tourist town of Ely to be completely contained. The containment effort got help from about 1.5 inches of rain that fell this weekend.

St. Louis County backs copper mines after contentious Ely hearing

Critics warn new copper and nickel mines will harm northeastern Minnesota's land and water. But St. Louis County commissioners sided with those who say mining can be done well and bring economic prosperity.

Twin Metals Minnesota Award

Twin Metals Minnesota, a joint venture pursuing the development of an underground copper, nickel and platinum group metals mine in Northeastern Minnesota, announced Tuesday that it has been selected as a recipient of Finance & Commerce's 2012 Progress Minnesota award.