Environmental organizations are pouring over the more than 1500-page Draft Environmental Impact Statement for PolyMet Mining’s proposed NorthMet copper-nickel operation. The groups are preparing for the start of the 45-day public comment period which opens on Monday, November 2.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released the Draft EIS on Wednesday. The full document as well as a 27-page executive summary of the Draft EIS can be found HERE. PolyMet hopes to mine copper, nickel, and other metals from a open pit near Babbitt and process the ore at the old LTV Steel plant in Hoyt Lakes.
The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy released THIS statement on the Draft EIS. MCEA attorney Mary Marrow has already requested lengthening of the public comment period to 190-days. Environmental concerns about the project center on sulfuric acid runoff from the sulfur-rich waste rock unearthed by the project.
Advocates of the project say the operation would create more than 400 jobs for more than 20 years and would provide an important domestic source for metals critical to modern living. The PolyMet project is considered the bellwether project for what could be a boom of non-ferrous mining projects in the area.
The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness released THIS statement on the matter. The organization has produced a film on the issue — Precious Waters: Minnesota’s Sulfide Mining Controversy— which it will premier November 11 at Macalester College in St. Paul. Details on the film and premier can be found HERE.
The release of the Draft EIS has also prompted renewed media coverage of the PolyMet project. Shortly before the document’s release, MPR ran THIS comprehensive piece on the the issue. The Duluth News-Tribune published THIS story upon the release of the Draft EIS.