ASSOCIATED PRESS-MINNEAPOLIS – A plan for Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine passed a major milestone Thursday with the Department of Natural Resources approving the project’s final environmental review, meaning the company can now start pursuing the long list of permits it needs to move forward.
DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said he determined that the 3,500-page environmental impact statement for the proposed PolyMet mine in northeastern Minnesota meets all the legal requirements. If the project is built as described, he said, “we will meet standards … intended to protect public health and the environment.”
The approval lets PolyMet Mining Corp. begin applying for the more than 20 permits it needs to build the mine near Babbitt and processing operations six miles away near Hoyt Lakes, at the site of the former LTV Steel taconite plant that has been closed since 2001.
“That’s where the real environmental review, as far as I’m concerned, is going to take place,” Gov. Mark Dayton said of the permitting process.
Landwehr declined to speculate on how long securing those permits might take or when construction could begin, but said PolyMet must have several permits in hand “before they can put a shovel in the ground.”
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