Minnesota Issues Last Major Permits for PolyMet Mine

Poly Met Mining Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of PolyMet Mining Corp., has received the final remaining state approvals for PolyMet to construct and operate the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals project in northeastern Minnesota. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the water quality (NPDES/SDS) and air quality permits and the Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certification for the NorthMet mine. This follows the Department of Natural Resources’ issuance in early November of the permit to mine, dam safety, water appropriations, takings, and public waters work permits, along with the Wetlands Conservation Act approval. In total, the MPCA and DNR have issued 17 permits and other approvals.

“This represents the culmination of many years of hard work to allow the building of Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine,” said Jon Cherry, president and CEO. “We look forward to the opportunity to responsibly develop the NorthMet mine and produce those metals that are critical for our society while creating value for our shareholders and the communities in which we operate.” As with the DNR permits, the MPCA permits were issued after the company demonstrated that its project designs meet strict state environmental standards and at the conclusion of an extensive public input process.

PolyMet will be the first to commercially produce copper and nickel, in addition to platinum, palladium, gold and cobalt, from the world-class Duluth Complex in the Iron Range’s historic mining district. The permits authorize the company to build and operate open pit mining operations that are expected to yield approximately 1.2 billion pounds (lb) of copper, 170 million lb of nickel, 6.2 million lb of cobalt and 1.6 million ounces of precious metals over a 20-year mine life. The 225 million tons of ore permitted for extraction represent roughly one-third of the North- Met 649-million-ton measured and indicated resource as described in the company’s 2018 National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report, which is filed under the company’s SEDAR and EDGAR profiles.

“The permits pave the way for a final decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on its wetlands (Section 404) permit, the only remaining federal permit,” he said. “That decision is expected soon. The permits also will provide certainty for the financing process over the next few months as we prepare for the 2019 construction season.”

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 01 - www.womp-int.com