Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Twin Metals Minnesota project near Ely is years away from becoming a working copper–nickel mine. But for the first time, stakeholders are learning what the mine could look like if it becomes operational.
Bob McFarlin, Twin Metals Minnesota Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, says the project is making progress. A sign of that is the company's the first draft of where the mine's facilities could be located.
"This is the first time that people have begun to get a sense of what our project might look like in the future," said McFarlin.
McFarlin says the mine would be located southeast of Ely, thousands of feet underground. Connected by underground corridors, the mine's concentrator facility would be west of the mine near the Ely Airport.
"If that's where it ends up, that's where people would come to work. [It would be] the portal or the opening to the underground mine," said McFarlin.
The map created by Twin Metals shows that an above ground surface pipeline would connect the concentrator to the tailing storage facility, south of Babbitt.
"That's where about half of our tailings material would go. The other half of our tailings material would go underground, back underground, in the underground mine," said McFarlin.
The project would get water from the Dunka pit, an old mining pit, through water pipelines. After it's used in the mining process, McFarlin says that water will be recycled.
While this is all preliminary, McFarlin says the plan has played an important role in getting feedback from stakeholders.
"It's significant to give stakeholders and regulators and public officials and other citizens an opportunity to have an early look at what our thinking is," he said.
McFarlin says it is very likely that the locations for the different parts of the mine will change as the project continues.