The Fight for Water & Treaty Rights in the Great Lakes

The Polymet Northmet Project | MN

Status | Proposed – In June, 2015, the Preliminary Final EIS was submitted for internal review. A PFEIS summary document can be found at the MNDNR website here. The SDEIS is available here. (The initial Draft EIS was rated as “Environmentally Unsatisfactory-Inadequate” by the U.S. EPA.)

Location | Superior National Forest, between Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt, MN

Type of Mine | 1,728 acre open pit – copper, nickel and precious metals

Estimated Mine Life | 20 years

Anticipated Output | 32,000 tons/day

Concerns |

  • The low-grade ore (<1% minerals) is located in a sulfide ore body.
  • 228,000,000 tons of tailings waste will be dumped into an existing waste basin that leaks.
  • The mine and tailings basin sites will drain into the St. Louis River, a tributary to Lake Superior.
  • 1,500 acres of wetlands will be destroyed or impaired
  • A land exchange would be required “to acquire the Forest Service lands on which proposed mining operations would occur. The exchange would involve the transfer of about 6,650 acres of federal lands from public to private ownership, and up to about 6,722 acres of land from private to public ownership.” (MDNR fact sheet)

Projected Jobs Created | 300-360 direct, 600 indirect (see company website)


State Agency Website |

Additional Information | The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and Waterlegacy are actively monitoring the Polymet Project.

Related Video | Proposed NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange, MDNR

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