There are sharply divergent visions for the future of Minnesota’s proposed copper mine, pitting the prospect of lucrative jobs and renewed prosperity against a determination to protect some of the state’s most pristine waters. The $650 million project could spur an entire new mining industry on the Iron Range, but it also carries new environmental risks for northern Minnesota’s water.
On March 6, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy along with a coalition of environmental and social justice groups held a press conference opposing the DNR’s draft permit for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. On the final day of the comment period, they emphasized their collective delivery of thousands of comments to the DNR against the proposed permit to mine for the PolyMet project in northern Minnesota. They expressed their concern for inadequate protections for the people downstream and water from the proposed mine, and the cleanup costs which Minnesotans will need to bear.
The proposed mine project near Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes has gone through more than a decade of review. PolyMet supporters see the promise of 300 to 360 mining jobs and thousands of temporary construction jobs in an area where good-paying work has been vanishing for three decades.