EPA deals fresh blow to PolyMet’s $1 billion copper-nickel mine – by Editor (Mining.com – May 5, 2022)


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dealt a fresh blow to PolyMet Mining’s (TSX: POM) plans to build an open pit copper-nickel mine in Minnesota, by recommending the US Army Corps of Engineers not re-issue a key water-related permit.

The agency said this week the $1 billion NorthMet project, the first large-scale project to be permitted within the Duluth Complex in northeastern Minnesota, risked increasing levels of mercury and other pollutants in the St. Louis River downstream from the proposed mine.

The Fond du Lac band sued the EPA in 2019 because the agency never notified the band on whether the project “may affect” its waters. This action, which triggered several reviews and this week’s public hearing, represents the first time a sovereign American Indian tribe has used its authority under the Clean Water Act as a “downstream state” to challenge a federal permit to protect its lands and waters.

The Army Corps suspended last year a section of PolyMet’s permit allowing it to discharge dredged and fill material over 900 acres of wetlands and kicked off a permit review.

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