PolyMet Mining moved a tiny step closer to its goal of opening the first copper-nickel mine in Minnesota last week when the state Department of Natural Resources declined an environmental group’s petition for additional environmental review on the proposed mine.
But the controversial project, nearly 15 years in the works, still faces several hurdles before construction can begin, including lawsuits, potential administrative hearings, several key permits PolyMet still needs to obtain — and the significant funding the company needs to raise to build the nearly $1 billion project, which would include a mine just south of the Iron Range town of Babbitt, Minn., and a processing facility a few miles south in Hoyt Lakes.
The PolyMet proposal — and the prospect of a new copper-nickel mining industry amongst the forests and lakes of northeast Minnesota — is the most divisive environmental issue the state has faced in decades.
4 things to know: The PolyMet mine project
Backers argue the proposed mine, together with additional projects that could follow — like the Twin Metals copper-nickel mine proposal near Ely, Minn. — would transform northeast Minnesota: creating hundreds, if not thousands, of high-paying jobs and injecting tens of millions of dollars into the regional economy.
But detractors say that economic infusion could come at the expense of the Arrowhead region’s treasured environment- and outdoors-based economy, because copper-nickel mining poses new risks for more severe water pollution than what’s caused by the region’s iron mining industry.
For the rest of this article: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/08/28/five-things-that-need-to-happen-before-polymet-copper-mine-future-is-written