The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued supplemental findings Monday supporting its conclusions for the air permit for the NorthMet Project, PolyMet said in a morning announcement.
The decision satisfies a Court of Appeals order addressing the company's right to build and operate the first copper-nickel-precious metals mine in northeast Minnesota
PolyMet said it concludes a process three years to the day after the MPCA issued its original air permit. Since then, PolyMet has overcome multiple legal challenges to the permit, including prevailing in the Minnesota Supreme Court.
"As we have steadfastly maintained, the facts and science prove the project will meet air quality standards. That has never been in doubt," said Jon Cherry, chairman, president and CEO. "This important permit moves us one big step closer to constructing NorthMet, a project that will provide numerous economic benefits to northeast Minnesota along with a U.S.-based supply of metals crucial for the transition to a greener economy," he said.
The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, a plaintiff in the lawsuit that led to the court order, said “We are disappointed that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has once again failed to
conduct a rigorous investigation into the facts surrounding the size and scale of PolyMet’s true
mining plans as shared with investors and securities regulators."
"Like the now-scuttled Pebble Mine in Alaska, PolyMet is still playing 'bait and switch' with its mine project. Our state agencies need to probe these issues, not side-step them. MCEA will continue to insist that we
use the best available technology to protect Minnesotans from air pollution, both in regard to the
PolyMet proposal and all others,” said JT Haines, MCEA Northeastern Minnesota program director.
PolyMet said it is confident in the environmental preparation that has gone into its proposed project.
"Of 22 lawsuits challenging the project only four cases remain and those are planned to be heard during 2022," Cherry said. "All cases that have reached final conclusion have been in PolyMet's favor."
MCEA said it is continuing to review the findings and has not yet made a decision on whether to
appeal. The Minnesota Court of Appeals has twice struck down PolyMet’s air permit and this
decision today can be appealed to that court.
The NorthMet mine will feed the mineral supply chain to meet the growing global demand for copper, nickel, cobalt and other metals needed for the U.S. and global transition to clean energy technologies such as solar and wind farms, battery storage and electric mobility, Cherry said. Most of the known resources of nickel and cobalt in the U.S. are found in Minnesota according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
MPCA reiterates PolyMet air permit decision | The Daily Briefing | businessnorth.com