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Polymet Mining Corp. Message Board

  • jjeeddoo7 jjeeddoo7 Dec 23, 2013 11:12 PM Flag

    Ho ho ho

    Why do some news reports say that water treatment will be required for 200 to 500 years?

    Information about water models developed for the environmental review is being used incorrectly. The timeframes used in the water models have nothing to do with water treatment and everything to do with ensuring that downstream water resources are protected in the event untreated water leaks offsite. The models were not designed to determine the duration of water treatment.
    More specifically, the models were designed to determine impacts to water quality at key reference points in the watersheds downstream of the tailings basin (Embarrass River watershed) and downstream of the mine site (Partridge River watershed). Scientists determined the amount of potential leakage to be relatively small (about the flow of a 5/8-inch garden hose) and the rate of travel to be slow (about 3 inches per day) to these respective points, so the extended timeframes (200 years in one case and 500 years in the other) were needed in the models to represent the maximum potential impacts at the reference points.
    The modeling years have no correlation to the years that will be required for actual treatment.
    For how long will the company need to monitor and treat water?

    It’s not known at this time. Financial assurance laws are in place to account for that uncertainty – bankruptcy proof financial assurance provisions ensure that water will be treated using either active or passive systems to meet applicable water quality standards for as long as it takes. (See PolyMet Financial Assurance fact sheet.)
    Because of legacy mining issues, long-term water care is needed at the site regardless of whether the PolyMet project goes forward. If it does go forward, the state will require the company to meet applicable water quality standards and will hold PolyMet accountable if there is a failure, even after closure.
    Actual treatment durations will be based on measured, rather than modeled data.
    A permitted PolyMet mine will allow for treatment to begin sooner rather than later, and in full compliance with state and federal regulations.
    Long-term water treatment is not new or uncommon for many types of mining in Minnesota and elsewhere. In fact, long-term water treatment is required already at the site of the former and currently idle LTV taconite processing facility, which PolyMet hopes to rehabilitate to process copper-nickel ore. Long-term monitoring and treatment often is one of the trade-offs for mining in a responsible way the minerals that are necessary to our modern lives.

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