Ely, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Twin Metals Minnesota, the company behind a proposed copper-nickel mine near Ely, is approaching their two-year anniversary as a company. Company officials say that they're making progress toward becoming a fully operational mine.
"Twin Metals Minnesota has grown tremendously with regard to the amount of work we've been able to do, the amount we've accomplished," said Twin Metals Special Projects Manager, David Oliver.
The company is currently in its Prefeasibility Studies stage of development. According to Twin Metals Minnesota, the Prefeasibility Studies stage is step four of a nine step process, as determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that must be completed before a mine can become operational.
The steps include:
2. Advanced Exploration
3. Environmental Studies
4. Prefeasibility Studies
"Determinations made in prefeasibility allow you to develop your mining plan of operation," said Oliver.
The most recent study of the proposed mine site found that the site contains indicated resources of about 10.5 billion pounds of copper-nickel and 12.1 million pounds of other precious metals. According to the study, the Twin Metals Minnesota project is one of the largest mineral deposits of its kind in the world.
"We have surpassed, I think it's fair to say, any and all expectations," said Oliver.
The company has drilled a total of 439 drill holes. In 2006, they only had six drill holes.
The number that might be of most interest to those in the community surrounding the mine, is the number of jobs that the mine could bring in.
"The mining that we've had in our community since then have been iron ore mines surrounding the Ely area and people working in Babbitt, Aurora, Mt. Iron, Hibbing, Silver Bay," said Ely Mayor Roger Skraba, "Now there's going to be an opportunity for them to work right next to Ely."
The Twin Metals Minnesota Project isn't without its controversy. Concerns have been expressed over the environmental impact the mine will have on the area.