PolyMet Mining says it will ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review a Monday Court of Appeals decision that reversed permits for its planned copper-nickel platinum (PGE) mine in the St. Louis River Watershed.
Monday’s decision reversed the company’s permit to mine and dam safety permits and ordered a contested-case hearing to vet objectors’ concerns.
Jon Cherry, president and chief executive officer of PolyMet, said Thursday that Monday’s decision will impact any company’s future projects in the state that require state-approved permits.
“The issues raised by the court of appeals’ decision are, of course, important to our project, but equally, they have far reaching impact to the State of Minnesota and to any future project that seeks permits from the state,” Cherry said in a news release.
“The potential negative consequences of the decision to any industry or business in the state, and the many Iron Range communities and workers who stand to benefit economically from responsible copper-nickel mining, warrant the Minnesota Supreme Court’s attention.”
Cherry cited the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ 15-year environmental review that included public meetings, review and comment as thorough enough to skip the contested-case hearing.
“No other company in the history of the state has been subjected to anywhere near the time and cost that was associated with this permitting process,” Cherry said. “We did everything the state and the law required, and more. And the process confirmed that our project will be protective of human health and the environment.
“The court’s decision greatly diminishes the role of expert state agencies and their commissioners in permitting in favor of administrative law judges,” Cherry added. “It sets a precedent that subjects the project and any future industrial project in the state to an endless loop of review, contested case hearings and appeals.”
Cherry said the mining project presents options for clean energy and Minnesota workers.
“The NorthMet deposit is abundant in metals that address climate change in the way of renewable and clean energy technologies. We are confident that we can produce these strategic metals responsibly, with Minnesota workers, and in compliance with all applicable regulations,” he said.
The company said it will file its petition for review to the Minnesota Supreme Court within 30 days.