DNR: 1,200 pack Polymet hearing in Duluth

By KBJR News 1

January 17, 2014 Updated Jan 17, 2014 at 2:39 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The first of three meetings on what could be the first copper-nickel mine in Minnesota got underway Thursday evening.

The supplemental draft of the environmental impact statement for the Polymet Project near Hoyt Lakes was released in early December.

As part of its environmental review, meetings will be held for the public to give input on the impact statement.

People traveled from all over Minnesota to have their voice heard. The DNR estimates 1,200 people came to the meeting.

"I don't believe you can justify the destruction of that many acres of wetland for the few jobs it's going to provide," said Bob Tammen, a project opponent.

"We're actually very confident in the design that's on the table we've intentionally taken our time over the last several years to ensure that we have a design that's defensible that demonstrates that we can meet all the standards," said Polymet CEO, Jon Cherry.

After two more meetings and a public comment period ending in March, changes to the SDEIS can be made and a final EIS can be released for public comment.

Then another adequacy decision will have to be made, and if all goes in favor of the mine a land exchange and issue of permits will take place and Polymet could begin development of the mine and processing facilities.