Chamber and Unions unite to push for Duluth Complex base/precious metals mines – by Lawrence Williams ( – November 20, 2012)

Mining on the environmentally sensitive Duluth Metallurgical complex in Minnesota is gleaning strong local support from a union/Chamber of Commerce alliance.

LONDON – In what must be a welcome development for prospective miners, PolyMet and Duluth Metals, Minnesota’s Chamber of Commerce and local mining unions will be mounting a combined campaign to try to ensure that mining of what has to be one of the world’s most significant mineral deposits, is given the go-ahead by state and federal bodies.

According to a report in the Duluth News Tribune, The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest business group, and the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council have formed “Jobs for Minnesotans” to promote development of the state’s first-ever massive base and precious metals mining operations on the Duluth Metallurgical Complex which hosts one of the world’s largest potential polymetallic orebodies and which could see large scale mining for the next century, with its associated employment and tax benefits for the state and federal economies.

The Duluth Complex hosts an enormous resource of relatively low grade polymetallic mineralisation, which in combination represents perhaps the world’s largest ever discovery of an orebody containing copper, nickel, cobalt, pgms and gold – and Polymet and the Duluth Metals 60:40 jv with Antofagasta – the Twin Metals project – are the two most advanced projects on the Complex at the moment. However the area where these enormous deposits is hosted lies in an environmentally sensitive locality between the Boundary Waters recreational area and brownfields mining and processing sites left over from the still significant Minnesota taconite iron ore mines and process plants.

PolyMet has reported its resource on its NorthMet project in its latest NI 43-101 statement as comprising 401 million tonnes in the Measured and Indicated categories grading 0.325% copper, 0.089% nickel, 81 ppb platinum, 292 ppb palladium, 41 ppb gold and 73 ppm cobalt. The Inferred category totals a further 144.0 million tonnes) grading 0.329% copper, 0.088% nickel, 86 ppb platinum, 315 ppb palladium, 43 ppb gold and 55 ppm cobalt.

The Duluth Metals/AntofagastaTwin Metals resource is even bigger, yet has only been assessed on a small part of the ground held by the jv. As we reported here back in June, the latest figures on the size and grades were assessed in a draft NI 43-101 compliant technical assessment by independent engineering company, AMEC.

The study puts the Twin Metals resource as being on its own amongst the world’s largest Cu-Ni-pgm polymetallic sulphide deposits with contained metals (using a 0.3% Cu cut-off) of an Indicated 8.0 billion lbs copper, 2.5 billion lbs nickel, and 12.1 million oz palladium+platinum+gold total precious metals (TPM) and an Inferred 13.5 billion lbs copper, 4.6 billion lbs nickel, and 15.8 million oz TPM.

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