PolyMet Updates Capital and Operating Costs
May 20, 2008
PolyMet Mining Corp. (TSX: POM; AMEX: PLM) ("PolyMet" or the "Company") reported today that its board of directors has reviewed and approved revised plans and cost estimates for construction and operating costs at its northern-Minnesota copper-nickel-precious metals development-stage project. PolyMet controls 100% of the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals ore-body and owns the nearby Erie Plant, located near Hoyt Lakes in the established mining district of the Mesabi Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota… (To read more, click below.)
St. Louis County approves Minnesota grant for Birch Lake copper development
Duluth News Tribune
May 7, 2008
Franconia Minerals Corp. will receive a $500,000 grant to help develop the Birch Lake copper deposit the company is exploring, thanks to a three-way deal approved Tuesday by the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners.
State lawmakers approved awarding the $500,000 for minerals development on the Iron Range as part of 2006 legislation that approved another $11 million of state money to Itasca County to develop the Minnesota Steel project in Nashwauk.
The latest deal would see Itasca and St. Louis counties develop a joint powers agreement to administer the grant and pass it on to Franconia for development of the minerals deposit. The deposit sits far below the surface of Birch Lake, which straddles St. Louis and Lake counties. Other nearby deposits also would be mined. St. Louis County commissioners approved the deal Tuesday as the Committee of the Whole and will give the grant final approval May 13 when they meet near Biwabik.
The Birch Lake and nearby deposits are purported to be among the richest in the world for copper, nickel, palladium and other precious metals. A preliminary economic assessment estimated the sites annually could produce 74 million pounds of copper, 19 million pounds of nickel, 2.9 million pounds of cobalt, 68,000 ounces of palladium, 33,000 ounces of platinum and 7,400 ounces of gold. The deposits would be mined for about 26 years.
At prices reported Tuesday, the project's estimated copper deposits are worth about $7.7 billion, with platinum at $1.7 billion, palladium at $760 million and gold at $167 million.
Franconia's is one of several proposed mining projects that would develop previously untapped deposits of copper and precious metals. Others include Polymet, which has proposed a mine and processing facility north of Hoyt Lakes at the former LTV taconite plant, and Duluth Metals, which is eyeing a site in Lake County south of Ely.
Polymet is the farthest along in the process and is expecting a response from state regulators on its environmental impact statement yet this year.
Supporters say the projects will help diversify the Iron Range economy, which until now has been dependant on iron ore, creating hundreds of new jobs for more than 20 years and pumping hundreds of millions of dollars of new construction into the economy.
Opponents say that copper and precious metal mines worldwide have almost always proved harmful to the environment. The valuable minerals usually are locked in sulfur-bearing rock that, when exposed to air and water, creates an acidic runoff deadly to streams, wetlands, fish and wildlife.
Mining is essential and environmentally responsible
The Timberjay Newspapers
May 6, 2008
It is clear from reading the April 19, 2008, letter to the editor from Ms. Magliulo that the next generation of mining, and the progress and growth it will provide, continues to generate unrealistic fears in some people. Anyone willing to take the time to learn and educate themselves about the specifics of the projects being proposed will gain an acute understanding of how nonferrous mines and processing facilities will operate, and how the waste from this extremely low sulfur ore body will be treated with available technology and applications that will protect our environment.
As Minnesota struggles economically, the benefits from the proposed base and precious metals mining projects are, without question, extremely important to our entire state. Hundreds, potentially thousands of great-paying jobs will allow our young families to live and work in the region, in both the mining operations and the thousands of supplier company jobs as well. Millions of tax dollars each year will provide much needed revenue to local and state government for essential services. And, the state estimates that royalties paid from the proposed projects will generate $1.4 billion to the Permanent School Trust Fund which supports school districts across all of Minnesota.
At the same time, the protection of our air and water quality is also being addressed. Minnesota has a strict and demanding environmental review process in place. All the potential risk and financial assurances for reclamation of the waste from this low sulfur ore body are part of that review process. All companies will be required to operate within Minnesota's strict environmental standards, making sure our air and water quality is protected.
The main issue of concern with proposed nonferrous mining operations is acid rock drainage, and protecting water quality. Fortunately, this issue is now fairly well understood. In Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources has been studying and researching how waste rock will react for 30 years. We have the ability to identify how the waste behaves and put a system in place to address the remediation, meet the standard, and assure water quality.
Every aspect of these proposed projects are thoroughly reviewed by state agency staff. These objective state employees have decades of experience studying all environmental issues and concerns. In addition, the state hires recognized independent experts to provide additional review of the companies proposed activities.
In the case of PolyMet, several years and tens of millions of dollars have already gone into testing, research, and development of their mine operation, processing, and waste material handling. This has all been undertaken by world class geologists, hydrometallurgical chemists and engineers, and experienced mine operators.
Demand for base and precious metals is growing both domestically and globally. Mining development for this demand is growing as well, much of it in countries that have little regard for environmental safeguards.
Our computers, our cell phones, batteries for hybrid cars, catalytic converters to remove emissions from automobiles, alloys for our defense systems, stainless steel for medical devices, wiring and plumbing for our homes, and even key parts of wind turbines for generating alternative energy all come form these metals.
There is no gamble, only a win/win opportunity for Minnesota. We can help meet the growing demand for metals with Minnesota jobs, and do it with Minnesota's strict environmental standards. As environmentalists, we should all get behind and support the excellent example of responsible development being proposed and hold it up as a standard for all mining development in the U.S. and in the world.