Minnesota plans rewrite of rules for copper-nickel mining near popular wilderness (Associated Press – June 1, 2023)


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota regulators have concluded that state rules governing where copper-nickel mines can be built are insufficient to protect the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from noise and light pollution, creating another potential obstacle to the proposed Twin Metals mine in northeastern Minnesota.

But the Department of Natural Resources declined as part of that decision Wednesday to declare a watershed that flows into the Boundary Waters off-limits to copper-nickel mining altogether, which had been a goal of the environmental group that challenged the regulations, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

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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.

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Inside the mines and megamachines of the Iron Range – by Eric Roper (Star Tribune – May 12, 2023)


A family’s question about large machines resulted in a Curious Minnesota field trip to the mighty Mesabi, a place that has fueled America’s success story.

KEEWATIN — The deep pits of the Iron Range feel quite otherworldly in a state known for its flat topography. Here, trucks the size of houses traverse vast canyons that have been carved away over decades by explosives and excavators. It is a constantly evolving landscape.

The Munson family of St. Louis Park asked Curious Minnesota, the Star Tribune’s reader-fueled reporting project, to find the state’s largest machine — inspired by 9-year-old Julien’s new Transformers toy. Our hunt for answers in January revealed many candidates in the iron mines of northern Minnesota.

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OPINION EDITORIALS: Our View: Declare Minnesota what it is, a mining-friendly state (Deluth News Tribune – March 23, 2023)


Of course Minnesota is a mining-friendly state. We’ve been successfully mining here for more than a century and a half, the industry fueling our state economy, propping up our schools, and defining us.

Minnesota mining has been credited for being a key to victory in two world wars. If it wasn’t for Minnesota mining, the bustle and activity at the port of Duluth-Superior, the largest on the Great Lakes, would be a shadow of itself.

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In Response: Mining opponents refuse to accept we need more mining – by Ryan Sistad (Duluth News Tribune – February 8, 2023)


Ryan Sistad of Duluth is executive director of Better In Our Back Yard (betterinourbackyard.com), which promotes responsible industrial development.

In her Jan. 25 column in the News Tribune, Lynn Anderson of the Tamarack Water Alliance attempted to convince Minnesotans that the high-grade nickel deposit discovered in the deep bedrock of Aitkin County by Talon Metals is actually not needed in the energy transition.

She even asserted that Tesla made a mistake by partnering with Talon Metals to source nickel because the company is moving to batteries that don’t use nickel and that any day now President Joe Biden will reverse course and remove nickel from the U.S. critical-minerals list. None of this is true.

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Feds slap 20-year mining ban on land near Boundary Waters – by Dan Kraker (MPR News – January 26, 2023)


The U.S. Department of the Interior issued a 20-year mining moratorium Thursday on 225,000 acres of federal land near the Boundary Waters, dealing a further blow to the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely, Minn. and other potential mines for copper, nickel and precious metals within the watershed of the canoe wilderness area.

The decision is the latest milestone in a long and contentious tug of war over mining near the popular wilderness area that has spanned more than six years and three presidential administrations.

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COMMENTARY: Hope for the Iron Range economy, but we must put the past behind us – by Aaron Brown (Minnesota Reformer – January 9, 2023)


At the hunting shack this year, my grandfather Ward Brown, Jr., told how a high school friend saved him from getting beat up by a Chisholm gang back around 1952. Not long after, this friend lay dead in the wreck of his restored ’32 Chevy on the road between Side Lake and Hibbing.

No “Leave It To Beaver” utopia here; the 1950s were wild on northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, wild because it seemed like it was all coming to an end. This happened more than 70 years ago. But it’s not just grandpa’s friend who’s gone, it’s also the road where he died.

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Proposed nickel mine in northern Minnesota continues to make national headlines – by Joe Friedrichs (WTIP North Shore Community Radio – October 27, 2022)


Developers of a proposed nickel mine in northern Minnesota plan to move construction of its processing plant to North Dakota because of environmental concerns.

Talon Metals has been under pressure from environmental groups and the tribal bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa about a plan to build the processing plant in Tamarack, about 50 miles west of Duluth.

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Talon Metals drills record nickel-copper intercept at Tamarack – by Staff (Mining.com – September 22, 2022)


Talon Metals (TSX: TLO) has received more encouraging results from drilling at its Tamarack nickel-copper-cobalt project in Minnesota, including assays for 17 holes drilled on the western side of the Tamarack resource area between 2021-2022 that demonstrated the continuity and thickness of the high-grade massive sulphide zone.

The new drill holes extended the resource from 320 metres from northwest to southeast. One hole (21TK0380) returned a record intercept of 23.44 metres grading 6.04% nickel and 2.85% copper in the Main zone.

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Twin Metals sues Biden administration to regain mine leases – by Steve Karnowski (Associated Press/Arizona Daily Star – August 22, 2022)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The developers of a proposed copper-nickel mine upstream from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota sued the Biden administration Monday to seek the reinstatement of federal mineral rights leases that are crucial to the $1.7 billion project.

Twin Metals Minnesota alleged in its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, that the Department of the Interior acted illegally earlier this year when it canceled the leases. The company asked the court to declare that those leases remain valid and in force, so that it can proceed with the environmental review and permitting process.

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Is sustainable mining possible? The EV revolution depends on it. – by Evan Halper (Washington Post – August 11, 2022)


A proposal for a ‘sustainable mine’ in Minnesota has the backing of Tesla. But will it win over the community?

TAMARACK, Minn. — Electric cars are still rare in this marshy stretch of central Minnesota, where it is more common to pass a flock of wild turkeys on the country roads than a Nissan Leaf.

But the region could have an outsize impact on America’s transition to zero-emission vehicles. Tamarack, sitting atop a treasure trove of metal used to power electric cars, is fast becoming a test case of whether the auto industry can meet this critical climate moment by sourcing colossal amounts of battery materials domestically and sustainably.

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PolyMet and Teck form JV to develop Minnesota mining projects – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – July 20, 2022)


PolyMet Mining Corp (POM.TO) and Teck Resources Ltd (TECKb.TO) said on Wednesday they will form a joint venture to develop their Minnesota copper and nickel mining projects.

The new company, known as NewRange Copper Nickel LLC, will share costs to develop the two proposed mines, which aim to produce metals used to make electric vehicles and other green technologies.

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Proposal to ban mining near Minnesota’s Boundary Waters sets off battle in Congress – by Jacob Fischler (Iowa Capital Dispatch – May 30, 2022)


A proposal to ban mining near the most popular wilderness area in the country is dividing members of Congress along party lines following President Joe Biden’s decision earlier this year to block federal approval of a new mine.

Democrats on the House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee said last week they supported Minnesota U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill to permanently protect nearly a quarter-million acres of Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from the polluting byproducts of mining for nickel, cobalt, copper and other minerals.

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Opinion: Is This a Mine Elon Musk and Joe Biden Can Both Support? – by Adam Minter (Bloomberg – May 9, 2022)


A Minnesota project has to overcome tribal and environmental concerns. But the U.S. needs its own source of nickel, which is key to electric-vehicle expansion.

The future of US-made electric-vehicle batteries might be found in a modest white shed in Tamarack, Minnesota, population 104.

Beneath bright fluorescent lights, foot-long cylindrical pieces of rock are laid out in cardboard boxes, where they sparkle with grains found in the millions of pounds of nickel that Tesla Inc. committed to buy on Jan. 11. That commitment has the potential to turn into a savvy buy for the electric carmaker.

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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.

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