Environmental advocates are concerned with a $4-million loan granted by the State of Minnesota’s Iron Range Resources board to PolyMet mining which hopes to open a controversial copper-nickel mine near Babbitt, MN.
Minnesota Public Radio has the story HERE.
On Thursday, the IRR approved a loan deal that could make the State a part-owner of the mine which environmental advocates say could pollute the waters of northern Minnesota with sulfuric acid drainage.
Loan proponents say the deal is natural for the IRR, whose role is to help develop the northern Minnesota economy. Critics say the State, which is in charge of permitting for the mine via the Department of Natural Resources, now has a conflict of interest in the PolyMet project.
The $4-million loan is designed to help PolyMet buy two pieces of land it intends to swap with the U.S. Forest Service for the Superior National Forest land where they intend to build their mine. As we reported yesterday, HERE, the State of Minnesota would own the parcels — near Biwabik, the other in Cook County — should the mine not be developed.
If the mine is permitted and begins operation, the IRR would have the option to buy 400,000 shares of PolyMet stock at $2.50 per share in addition to receiving loan payments.