Minnesota’s First Ever Copper-Nickel Mine Receives Final Permit, Project Moves Forward

Minnesota’s first-ever copper-nickel mine, to be built by PolyMet, received its final permit to build from the Army Corps of Engineers on Mar 22. The final permit comes after years of regulatory battles between PolyMet in the state.

PolyMet via SCtimes.com

Jon Cherry, president and CEO of PolyMet said he is excited to “responsibly build and operate a copper-nickel-precious metals mine within the world-class Duluth Complex” calling it a “historic achievement” as this mine could be the start of a new industry in Northeastern Minnesota. It is PolyMet’s goal to be the first mining company to commercially produce copper and nickel, in addition to platinum, palladium, gold and cobalt.

Col. Sam Calkins, commander of the Army Corps’ St Paul District shares in the excitement, stating his confidence in the Corps’ identification of  “an appropriately balanced alternative [to the original proposal] and proffered a permit that will allow access to an important mineral resource, while maximizing protection to natural resources including wetlands.”

Minnesota’s iron range has been hit hard by the decline of the steel industry. The introduction of PolyMet’s copper-nickel mine diversifies that natural-resources based economy of northeastern Minnesota and is welcomed by many.

Glencore, a sound and respected global mining company, is PolyMet’s primary investor. Polymet’s spokesperson, Bruce Richardson, said that “the support and backing of Glencore” is what helped push them through these final steps. PolyMet is excited to move forward, paying special attention to the standards of protection for “Minnesota’s water, air and other natural resources.”

Megan Olson

Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.