Mining Q&A Draws Hundreds to Duluth

By KBJR News 1

May 2, 2012 Updated May 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - From jobs, to water quality, to wild rice, all were topics of discussion Wednesday during a question and answer session on mining.

PolyMet Mining Company has proposed to mine copper, nickel as part of the first nonferrous mining project in northeastern Minnesota.

About 200 people showed-up for the question and answer session, hoping to get answers and learn more about what a copper, nickel mine may mean for Northeastern Minnesota.

Several stakeholders were represented on the panel, including a spokesperson from Polymet, the DNR and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

The first topics of the night looked at wild rice standards of water quality, as well as whether regulations result in a bad environment for jobs.

One question the panelists disputed was over whether there is an environmental success story when it comes to any existing nonferrous mining project.

Environmentalists argue the byproduct of nonferrous mining introduces more sulfides into the water systems.

The PolyMet representative pointed to Flambeau Mine in Wisconsin as an example of success.

"The Flambeau River is approximately 150 feet from the mine site. It's shown no change in water quality and aquatic life as a changes as a result of mining activity," said Brad Moore, a VP of Polymet Mining Company.

"Flambeau is yet another mine in a long a long stream of sulfide mine that's had continual problems," said Kathryn Hoffman of the Minnesota Center of Environmental Advocacy.

The DNR representative said Flambeau Mine operated under fewer regulations and would not have met closure standards in Minnesota.

PolyMet isn't the only mining company exploring precious metal mining in Minnesota.

One other example of a company that has done exploratory drilling and proposed a project is Twin Metals.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike