Change is in the air, Minnesota. Can you feel it? It’s more than just the inevitability of winter. With the DNR’s recent decision to grant PolyMet with a Permit to Mine and all subsequent DNR permits, we are one step closer to opening the state’s first copper-nickel mine. At Better In Our Back Yard, we are excited for what this means for our state and for those who live and work on the Iron Range.
Firstly, it means years of hard work and dedication are finally paying off. The PolyMet team has worked tirelessly for over a decade to get this right. There were late nights of pouring over details and long hours in the office planning and preparing hundreds of thousands of document pages for the DNR and their independent contractors to review and analyze. When aspects of the project were questioned or challenged, the team dove back in to reevaluate and make sure everything would meet or exceed Minnesota’s strict standards. The PolyMet team has proven that the NorthMet Project will operate safely while protecting human health and Minnesota’s environment.
Secondly, the DNR’s decision to issue a Permit to Mine means good-paying jobs are on the horizon. The NorthMet Project will bring 360 mining jobs to local communities and will support over a thousand jobs in related industries. The construction required to begin operations requires two million hours of work, and the NorthMet Project itself is expected to be in operation for a minimum of two decades. These jobs are essential for continuing the way of life on the Iron Range and will aid in revitalizing cities that have been struggling for many years.
Lastly, this monumental decision means the opportunity to show the world how to operate a non-ferrous copper-nickel and precious metals mining project both safely and responsibly is upon us. Countless hours were spent ensuring the environmental impact of this project will be minimized, and every inch of impacted land will be mitigated and reclaimed and left better than when the project started. PolyMet takes their responsibility seriously when it comes to protecting and managing water, minimizing land disturbance and preserving wetland areas.
Congratulations, PolyMet. We’re behind you, and we’re looking forward to the next steps in the process. The whole world is watching. It’s time to mine.