Industry, business groups optimistic on nickel mining bordering Lake Superior – by Bruce Walker (The Center Square – May 26, 2023)

(The Center Square) – Geologists and mining experts say Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula may provide a solution for an obstacle facing the electric vehicle transition. Minerals are needed, and this area has them.

U.S. manufacturers are largely dependent on foreign countries like China, Russia and Indonesia for critical minerals like nickel and cobalt, which are key materials for electric vehicle batteries. Automakers increasingly are looking for domestic supplies, and northern Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – a geological area bordering Lake Superior dubbed the Midcontinent Rift – may provide the solution.

“Leaders in Congress and President Biden, on a bipartisan basis, have advanced policies that support domestic production of critical minerals for both new renewable energy technologies (transmission lines, batteries, hydrogen production, etc.) and defense,” Todd Malan, Talon Metals chief external affairs & head of climate strategy, wrote in an email to The Center Square.

Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula were identified by the U.S. Geological Survey as potentially rich in nickel and other critical minerals in a report released in 1997. Geologists determined there were striking similarities between the rocks of the 1.1 billion-year-old Midcontinent Rift in the U.S. Lake Superior region and nickel-cobalt-platinum deposits in what was then the largest producers of the critical minerals, the Voisey Bay region in Labrador, Canada, and Noril’sk, Russia.

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