A Debate Over Non-Ferrous Mining That Is Far From Over

By KBJR News 1

June 23, 2013 Updated Jun 23, 2013 at 8:30 AM CDT

Ely, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A major step forward for a non-ferrous mining project on the Iron Range took place Friday.

Stakeholders and neighbors got a look at the new Twin Metals storage facility in Ely.

Twin Metals is celebrating a milestone by opening the 17,000 square foot facility to the public to honor the workers, businesses, and labor union organizations that helped make it happen.

"They did it in extreme conditions obviously, throughout the winter. It took approximately 80 days to construct and they did so without injury," says Dean DeBeltz, Health and Safety Manager for Twin Metals,

The new facility is adjacent to the Twin Metals Operational Headquarters and will serve as a larger and closer storage area for core samples.

"Just getting the core can take up to a day so bringing it here it takes us maybe fifteen minutes to find a box of core. Any contractors that we want to that we bring in to see the core they can also come in and have easy access to the core," says James Devine, Project Manager for Twin Metals.

Although the new facility brings more jobs to the public, there are still two sides to this debate.

"Every sulfide or mine in the world has polluted. The mining companies have not been able to point to a single mine that has not polluted the waters," says Becky Rom, Founder of Sustainable Ely.

Rom says the high risk areas in the world for this type of pollution are those that have a large amount of water.

"This is a very water intensive area. We have the greatest Lakeland, canoe country, wilderness in the world," says Rom.

A debate over nonferrous mining that's far from over.

Officials say approximately one point seven million square feet of core can be stored in the core storage facility.

Elsa Robins