Twin Metals Minnesota: Building the state’s Mining Future – by Bob McFarin (Mesabi Daily News – July 31, 2013)

Bob McFarin is vice president of public and government affairs of Twin Metals Minnesota.

Just over 150 years ago, people came to northern Minnesota in search of gold. Instead, they found a more enduring, but no less valuable resource — iron ore. The rest, of course, is history — Minnesota history shaped by generations of entrepreneurial, daring and hard-working “Iron Rangers.”

Good paying jobs, the ability to raise a family, vibrant communities, quality education and stewardship of the wilderness and environment — these are the past and present values and aspirations that define more than a century of mining throughout Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM) is excited to be joining Minnesota’s proud mining heritage. Working in partnership with local communities and state and federal regulators, TMM is pursuing the development and operation of an underground mining project that will be one of the world’s largest sources of copper, nickel, platinum, palladium and gold.

These critical metals are necessary components of myriad products, from simple to complex, that support a modern quality of life — electrical wiring, piping, computers, cell phones, stainless steel, aircraft engines, batteries, medical devices, hybrid and electric cars, wind generators, solar panels, catalytic converters, environmental protection equipment and much, much more.

With more than 4 billion tons of these critical metals estimated to be contained within northeast Minnesota’s Duluth Complex, the economic potential for the region is staggering.

The TMM project area is located approximately 10 miles northeast of Babbitt and 15 miles southeast of Ely. Estimates indicate the TMM mining project could be operational for more than 100 years, and would create thousands of initial construction jobs, and hundreds — potentially more than 1,000 — of long-term, well-paying mining jobs.

Moreover, the University of Minnesota-Duluth estimates that for every new mining job created in northern Minnesota, an additional two jobs are created within the region and the state.

To date, TMM has invested approximately $200 million in project scoping and development, supporting up to 200 private sector jobs in construction, drilling, mine engineering, metallurgical testing and environmental studies.

TMM’s total capital investment in Minnesota could exceed $2 billion in planning and constructing the proposed mine. When operational, the TMM project will annually generate millions in tax and royalty revenues for state and local governments and for schools throughout Minnesota.

TMM is early in its project development work, currently conducting the project’s prefeasibility study (PFS) to evaluate project details such as facility locations, underground mining methods, scope of operations, metallurgical processes, transportation corridors, environmental protections and estimated economic impacts. The PFS will serve as the foundation for a detailed project proposal that will be submitted to multiple state and federal regulatory agencies for rigorous, thorough and lengthy environmental review. The formal environmental review process will provide numerous opportunities for detailed public review of the proposed project and public comment.

The strong values that defined Minnesota’s mining past — good jobs, strong communities and environmental stewardship — are the same values guiding Twin Metals Minnesota in its pursuit of Minnesota’s mining future.

Twin Metals Minnesota is strongly committed to protecting Minnesota’s unique and treasured natural environment and recreational resources, supporting area communities and creating long-term, sustainable jobs and economic growth in northeast Minnesota for generations to come.

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