As 2017 dawns, we’re looking ahead to more progress on Minnesota’s first copper-nickel-precious metals mine. Check out what we accomplished in 2016 and see what’s next:
Review process ends
On March 3, 2016, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources deemed the Final Environmental Impact Statement adequate. This marked the successful conclusion of the state’s environmental review process and cleared the path for our permit applications.
Permitting process begins
We submitted all of our major permit applications beginning in July, handing regulators a total of more than 23,000 pages of technical data, studies, reports and other information on how we would build and operate the mine in a way that protects our water resources, air quality and human health and safety.
Water-related permit applications
Submitted on July 11, here’s the status of these three permit applications:
NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) water quality permit
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says it is complete for processing but notes it may have additional information requests during the process to draft the permit.
Water appropriations and dam safety permits
The DNR has deemed both of these permit applications complete for processing.
Air quality permit application
Submitted on August 24, the MPCA deemed this permit application complete for processing.
Permit to Mine
This was the big one at more than 17,000 pages. Submitted on November 3, it’s the last major permit application, and includes the Wetland Replacement Plan. Watch a video about this permit application.
Open House & Plant Tours event
We were especially honored to have nearly 1,000 people visit our Open House in October, where we also guided about 250 people through a tour of the future plant site. See more about the Open House.
Land exchange progresses
After the U.S. Forest Service published its draft Record of Decision in support of the proposed land exchange in late 2015, it considered comments made on the draft in preparation for issuing a final decision. On June 30, PolyMet repaid a $5 million loan to the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. The loan helped us acquire lands that will be exchanged for surface land above and around the mineral rights (that we already control) as part of the proposed land exchange.
Mining for Excellence
We again awarded two scholarships to outstanding Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) seniors — at Hibbing and Cromwell – Wright High Schools. Nominations for the 2017 scholarships are now open.
As the year ended, the American Exploration & Mining Association honored PolyMet’s project with its annual Environmental Excellence Award. We weren’t expecting the award, yet we’re proud AEMA recognizes the diligent work of our employees to create an environmentally sound project plan.
The award recognizes that our plan will protect the environment while creating good jobs and producing needed minerals. See more on the AEMA award.
A very happy new year
We anticipate continued progress on the PolyMet project this year, including a final Record of Decision from the USFS on the land exchange, plus completing the permitting processes and capital financing, which would lead to the start of construction of the project.
Meanwhile, thanks for supporting PolyMet through 2016, a year of great progress. We look forward to updating you as we reach more key milestones in 2017.