PolyMet Mining Corp. [POM-TSX; PLM-NYSE MKT] reported that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has completed its review and validated the NorthMet Final Environmental Impact Statement that was published in November 2015 – see www.mndnr.gov/polymet.
This decision on the NorthMet Final EIS is the final and conclusive action by the State of Minnesota on the required environmental review, confirming that the Final EIS addresses the objectives defined in the EIS scoping review, meets procedural requirements, and responds appropriately to public comments. The state’s decision also lays the foundation for permits to construct and operate the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals project located in the established Mesabi mining district and Duluth Complex of northeastern Minnesota.
“The state’s decision validates both the Final EIS and the exhaustive process supporting the final document. This is an historic event for Minnesota, the Iron Range, and for PolyMet, clearing the path for permit applications required for construction,” stated Jon Cherry, President and CEO.
“We have sought to earn the trust of regulators and the community by listening and being responsive to questions and concerns throughout the environmental review process,” Cherry said. “The EIS demonstrates and confirms that the NorthMet Project can be built and operated in accordance with state and federal regulations. We intend to continue to build trust through open dialogue and community involvement as we advance through permitting into construction and operations.
“NorthMet will produce metals that are essential building-blocks of renewable energy and the modern economy. Our focus remains on building the Project in a manner that respects the things that matter most – supporting a safe and healthy community and protecting the environment – while generating returns to investors and creating good, well-paid, local jobs,” Cherry added.
The US Forest Service is reviewing comments on its Draft Record of Decision on the proposed Land Exchange, in which the USFS will receive title to high-quality habitat with improved public access in exchange for the surface rights above PolyMet’s mineral leases, where there is restricted public access and the land has been impacted by forestry as well as current and past mining activity. The US Army Corps of Engineers also is preparing its Record of Decision on the 404 Wetland Permit.
Going forward, PolyMet’s focus is to submit state permit applications and secure construction finance so that the project can move forward into construction promptly upon receipt of permits and completion of the Land Exchange.
“We thank everyone in the state Agencies, our technical and legal advisors, and the whole PolyMet team for their professionalism, diligence and hard work in achieving this milestone,” Cherry said. “We also thank our local communities, our political representatives, the business and labor communities and PolyMet’s shareholders for their continued support and encouragement. The Iron Range has a great history of mining and we are very pleased to be part of the next chapter of mining in Minnesota.”
PolyMet Mining controls 100%t of the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals ore body through a long-term lease and owns 100% of the Erie Plant, a large processing facility located approximately six miles from the ore body in the established mining district of the Mesabi Range in northeastern Minnesota. PolyMet completed its Definitive Feasibility Study and is seeking environmental and operating permits to enable it to commence production. The NorthMet Project is expected to require approximately two million hours of construction labor, creating approximately 360 long-term jobs, a level of activity that will have a significant multiplier effect in the local economy.