Advocates Want PolyMet Partner Scrutinized

Environmental advocates want Minnesota regulators to consider the track record of one of PolyMet Mining’s financial backers when it considers permitting the company’s copper-nickel mine near Babbitt, MN.

Minnesota Public Radio explores the matter HERE. The Star Tribune also covered the story HERE.

The environmental advocacy organization Water Legacy says that PolyMet’s financial backer Glencore International AG, a privately held Swiss company founded by pardoned U.S. tax exile Marc Rich, has a troublesome history of environmental, economic, and worker-related problems that should be weighed by regulators in Minnesota.

Water Legacy outlined the problems it sees in the company’s actions in THIS overview.

In 2008, for example, Glencore earned the dubious distinction of being named the “Worst Corporation of the Year” by the Berne Declaration, a group that promotes “more equitable, sustainable and democratic North-South relations.”

Water Legacy is concerned that Glencore, as a PolyMet investor, won’t be supportive of proper environmental practices at the proposed Minnesota operation and could help PolyMet renege on financial assurances against possible environmental damages from the mining operations. The group points to a $400-million clean-up bill at a French copper foundry that Glencore failed to pay.

PolyMet officials counter that Glencore is a minority investor in its company and that PolyMet will hold the permits for the operation and bear the burden for financial assurances.

PolyMet’s proposed mining operation is currently undergoing a second environmental review after the federal Environmental Protection Agency criticized the initial environmental review last year.

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