Sept. 25, 2013
The Honorable Mark Dayton
Governor, State of Minnesota
130 State Capitol
St. Paul, MN 55155
RE: Minnesota Should Say Yes to Copper-Nickel Mineral Development
Dear Governor Dayton:
Anti-mining activists opposed to mineral development in Minnesota are urging you, as the state’s chief
executive, to address four questions before the state approves any proposed copper-nickel mining
projects. These questions are focused on ensuring Minnesota’s water resources are protected, that
environmental safeguards are in place, that proper reclamation of mine sites will occur after mining is
completed, and that taxpayers will be protected from any financial burdens. We agree that these are
all good questions — and that there are fact-based answers that will give you and all the citizens of
Minnesota the utmost confidence that new copper-nickel mining projects can bring unprecedented
economic opportunity to Minnesota while protecting our precious natural environment. In short, can
Minnesota enjoy both mining growth and a healthy environment? The answer is unequivocally YES.
1) Will Minnesota’s water stay safe and clean?
YES, our water will be protected and be kept safe. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
(MPCA) and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency have multiple specific water quality
standards and regulations. Companies are required to have controls in place to comply with
comprehensive environmental standards —assuring clean and safe water, air and land.
2) Are there strong safeguards in place for when things go wrong?
YES, safeguards require companies to demonstrate necessary remediation funding. Further,
plans are in place to first prevent pollution and, second, address any potential unforeseen
issues. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management all require thorough environmental
review of potential impacts before permits are issued. Should unplanned issues arise during operation,
the Minnesota DNR and MPCA have authority to require corrective enforcement actions to remedy the
issues. This requires additional financial assurance.
3) Will the company leave the site clean and maintenance free?
YES, state and federal agencies mandate the reclamation of all mining and processing activity,
including mines, tailing basins, waste rock, wetland restoration, re-vegetation of disturbed
ground, closure and post closure maintenance. In addition, strong financial requirements in
Minnesota assure responsible clean-up. The financial assurance must be available to the state at all
times and is adjusted annually by the state. Provisions for post closure maintenance are in place as a
tool to eliminate the potential for water quality problems that have been documented from past mining
operations in other states.
4) Will Minnesota’s taxpayers be protected?
YES, taxpayers are financially protected and will not be on the hook for paying for anything
that is the financial responsibility of mining companies. Minnesota requires state-managed and
annually adjusted bankruptcy-proof financial assurance to cover any possible costs before permits can
be issued. Minnesota is authorized to deny or revoke a permit if a company does not comply.
Importantly, Minnesotans will benefit from significant job and economic gains from the state producing
its natural resources. Payroll and sales taxes for Minnesota, net proceed taxes for local governments,
and royalties to the School Trust Fund provide revenue to every school district in Minnesota.
In addition to the four questions, the anti-mining activists continue to claim that no coppernickel mine has operated without “polluting” local waters. This simply is not true.
you still got the left wing nut jobs who do not want to promote jobs in minesota especially with the resources polymet has. i just hope they get the permitts thats the first step and then after that dealing with the lawsuits from these left wing nut jobs
Copper, nickel and other much needed metal production can and has been done safely and
successfully, without polluting local waters. Right next door in Wisconsin, the Flambeau Mine is an
excellent example of a copper mine that operated for several years, and now has been closed and
reclaimed for more than ten years in full compliance with Wisconsin laws.
During both the operation and the closure of the Flambeau Mine, not a single permit condition was
violated and the mine has not impaired local waters. The Wisconsin DNR holds this mine up as an
example of a successful operation and successful closure.
A recent federal Court of Appeals decision, along with the lower court’s praise for the company’s
demonstrated respect of the environment and local community, further affirm that the right company
doing the right things in compliance with the right standards can produce the materials society needs
safely and responsibly.
Minnesota should enthusiastically support the development of its own resources by way of
mining. We can have a win, win, win situation. Mine the metals here in Minnesota – do it with
Minnesota jobs – and be an example to the rest of the world for environmentally responsible mining.
Minnesota’s environmental review and permitting process — developed with the input of many
stakeholders, including environmentalists — is comprehensive, open and transparent and invites
citizen participation at many steps along the way. As an industry, we encourage everyone to
participate in the process and learn the facts of each project as it goes through this rigorous review.
Each and every project will be required to demonstrate it will meet or exceed Minnesota’s strict air and
water quality standards in order to receive a permit to mine. If a company demonstrates it will meet
these strict standards, Minnesota should say YES to copper-nickel mining opportunities, and the jobs
The answer to all the above questions is a resounding, YES.
• We will protect our water and keep it safe
• Minnesota has strong safeguards in place
• Companies are required to leave sites clean
• Taxpayers are protected
• It has been done before
Thank you for your continued support of mineral development.
Cc: Minnesota Legislators, Minnesota Congressional Delegation, Minnesota Mining Subcabinet