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Reader’s view: PolyMet mine would benefit region’s economy

Duluth News Tribune
November 30, 2009

The proposed PolyMet mine in Hoyt Lakes would have a huge positive impact on the northern Minnesota economy. Plus, it would provide approximately 400 new and permanent, good-paying jobs along with hundreds of spin-off jobs for surrounding communities, including Duluth.

PolyMet has demonstrated in its environmental impact statement it can produce copper/nickel metals while following Minnesota's strict environmental requirements to protect the air, water and land. The PolyMet project has been designed to minimize environmental impacts and will utilize multiple safeguards to protect the environment.

The bottom line is that this project makes sense, and we need to move forward with the permitting process!

John Ruud

Chisholm

Copper mining showdown looms

Capitol Reporter
November 30, 2009

Last February, State Rep. Alice Hausman introduced a bill that would have tightened regulations on all those mining companies that are lining up to extract copper, nickel and other metals from untapped reserves in northeastern Minnesota.

As the St. Paul DFLer tells it, the goal was simple: Protect Minnesotans from the sort of disastrous economic and environmental outcomes associated with nonferrous metal mining operations in other states and parts of the globe.

Hausman's bill faced opposition from Iron Range legislators, the Pawlenty administration, labor groups and mining interests. They complained that the bill amounted to a backdoor ban of an industry only now making its first inroads in Minnesota. In their view, it would have also effectively killed the prospect of hundreds of well-paying mining and construction jobs.

In the end, the Hausman measure fizzled when state Rep. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, chair of the Environment Policy and Oversight Committee, declined to give it a hearing.

Now comes Act Two.

This week, Hausman told Capital Report she will sponsor a revised version of the bill, either in mid-December or when the session resumes in February. "This is by no means a ban on nonferrous mining," said Hausman. "We just want to make sure it's done right."

While the details have not been settled, Hausman said some of the more controversial provisions from the prior iteration – including a rule that would have prohibited the issuance of a permit if it appeared a mine would require water treatment after the mine closed – would likely be scuttled.

The revised bill will focus on financial assurances designed to prevent companies from dodging cleanup obligations by way of bankruptcy or other sleight of hand, said Hausman.

Such a measure is a principle goal in Minnesota's environmental community, where regulation of nonferrous mining remains a hot issue. The Minnesota Environmental Partnership, a coalition of some 80 green groups in the state, lists safe-mining legislation as one of its four top legislative priorities.

"The current laws and regulations do not specify the types [of financial assurance] that are not permissible, so we need to tighten up some of those loopholes," said Betsy Daub, policy director for the Friends of the Boundary Waters, a MEP member.

Daub said she expected the revised bill would require mine operators to provide financial assurances in the form of a surety bond or other cash equivalent while forbidding unreliable instruments such as self-insurance and corporate guarantees.

"The state needs to be protected from the potential that a corporation might try to escape its liability for a cleanup," said Allison Wolf, legislative direct of Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, another MEP member.

Historically, Wolf noted, states with nonferrous mining have chronically underestimated the expense of mine reclamations, often leaving taxpayers saddled with cleanup costs. "We'll also be talking to legislators about making sure that estimates of cleanup costs are both accurate and transparent," said Wolf.

Eken said he hasn't decided whether he would give a hearing to another mining regulation bill. "It depends on whether we reach some common ground agreements," he said.

"I know this is a volatile issue. You're talking about two things that are important, jobs and clean water," Eken added. "I'm hopeful we don't sacrifice one for the other."

Still, Eken said "there is some reason to be concerned" about the adequacy of existing financial-assurance regulations.

Frank Ongaro, executive director of the trade organization Mining Minnesota, said the push to alter the nonferrous mining regulations could "change the game in the latter innings." He pointed out that PolyMet Mining Inc., which has proposed an open-pit copper and nickel mine near Babbitt, has already spent some $20 million and five years on its environmental impact statement. (While other nonferrous mining proposals have been initiated in Minnesota, PolyMet is the closest to fruition.)

"Bottom line is, we have a project that is in the environmental review process. This would change the game," said Ongaro. "If it comes down to legislative priorities, I would hope that in the 2010 session, with our strong need for jobs, the Legislature would focus on ways to create jobs."

According to PolyMet, the mine at Babbitt – which would use a processing facility at the now-shuttered LTV Steel Mining Co. plant in Hoyt Lakes – is expected to employ some 400 people over the projected 30-year life span of the mine. Additionally, the mine would give work to several hundred construction workers.

Among Iron Range legislators, the job focus remains paramount, while skepticism persists about the necessity for any additional rules.

"I've been told by DNR and PCA that the existing financial assurance requirements are adequate. As legislators, we have to depend on our agencies," said state Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, who is running for governor. "I'm not going to listen to the environmental groups or the mining companies about the assurances. I want to know that from our state agencies. That's their job to analyze."

According to state Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, another gubernatorial hopeful from the Range, the issue shouldn't even be framed as a jobs versus the environment proposition.

"I'm not going to say this mine is going to be totally pollution-free. But I know it is going to more environmentally sound than anywhere else in the world those metals are mined," said Rukavina. "That's something people in the environmental community need to recognize."

The green economy – including everything from windmills to solar panels – relies on the types of metals PolyMet expects to mine in Minnesota, Rukavina added. But unlike copper mined in South America and processed in China, no highly polluting smelters would be employed in the processing of Minnesota copper.

"Every single candidate I'm running against is talking about green economy. They don't want to face the reality that none of that happens unless you have these materials," said Rukavina. "I say mine it right and mine it right here."

Even if the Minnesota Legislature does not act on financial-assurance regulations, there is still a possibility that the federal government may change the game, according to Betsy Daub of the Friends of the Boundary Waters.

"The EPA is really beginning to take a look at hard-rock mining financial assurance regulations, and it may be doing some rule making changes in the spring," she said.

Let common sense and professionalism prevail

Mesabi Daily News
November 28, 2009

Every time I see a notice by EPA I wince, knowing that will be the signal for the calamity howlers to appear and to be anti anything which might be beneficial to our region. A 90-day comment period? A further delay which one would expect from our worst enemies.

Why meeting in Blaine? Why not Ballushistran? PolyMet is not putting Blaine's water supply in any danger, I'm sure.

The Twin Cities environmentalists should realize who, over the years, but the mining companies provided the funds for the infrastructure, roads, and all the other amenities they enjoy here. Apparently elitists trump the blue collar guys and gals who desperately need jobs. PolyMet has spent more than $20 million over the last five years providing EPA with the necessary homework. Why should it take five years to come to a conclusion – any conclusion?

I hope common sense and professionalism prevail over hysterics.

Whatever, supporters of PolyMet who attend the Dec. 9 hearing should be wary of angry, heated and loud protesters brandishing canoe paddles. Hard hat area?

Leonard Slabodnik

Winton

Reader’s view: PolyMet impact statement addresses runoff

Duluth News Tribune
November 28, 2009

I wonder how many people arguing against the PolyMet mine actually have read the draft environmental impact statement ("Another step forward for state's first copper mine," Oct. 29). It serves no purpose to argue against something if you haven't availed yourself of measured facts. While opinions are useful as guidelines and the positions pro and con allow guidelines for the debate's content, it serves no useful purpose to parrot someone else's opinions.

The draft environmental impact statement specifically engages questions of runoff into the Partridge and Embarrass rivers. The community needs jobs. The nation needs the metal, and the money spent on it will enter your community instead of some South American dictator's pockets.

The state is tasked with and has the ability to monitor the operation of the mine. This is a big opportunity to show how well reclamation works.

Churchill Hornstein

Wilmington, N.C.

POLYMET CLOSES FINANCING – PROJECT UPDATE

PolyMet Mining News Release
November 24, 2009
*See Reports section of MiningMinnesota.com for more details*

NEWS RELEASE 2009-15

POLYMET CLOSES FINANCING – PROJECT UPDATE

Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, November 24, 2009 – PolyMet Mining Corp. (TSX: POM; NYSE AMEX: PLM) ("PolyMet" or the "Company") announced today that it has closed the first US$10 million installment of its previously announced US$25 million equity financing with Glencore A.G. ("Glencore"). PolyMet controls 100% of the development-stage NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals ore-body and the nearby Erie Plant, located near Hoyt Lakes in the established mining district of the Mesabi Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota.

This US$25 million financing follows the key milestone of the official notification of publication of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in November and underscores the Company's strategic relationship with Glencore as well as Glencore's support and belief in the NorthMet project. The full financing relationship with Glencore is summarized below.

Project Update – Environmental Review Process

Publication of the draft EIS is the culmination of three-and-a-half years of environmental review and analysis designed specifically to support the EIS. The draft EIS describes the potential impacts of the PolyMet project as outlined in the October 2005 Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) and considers alternative ways to develop the project in order to minimize or mitigate impacts to the environment.

The EIS process is designed to provide information to government agencies for permitting.

PolyMet expects that the permits will be issued six to nine months after notification of publication of the draft EIS in the State's EQB Monitor and the Federal Register on November 2 and November 6, 2009, respectively.

The EIS and permitting process is site specific for the NorthMet mine and the reuse of the former Erie plant site. Some comments about the PolyMet project refer to other projects in the area or even outside northeastern Minnesota which are beyond the scope of the PolyMet EIS.

Joe Scipioni, President and CEO of PolyMet stated, "It is important to understand the publication of the PolyMet draft EIS both for what it is and for what it is not.

"The draft EIS is a very comprehensive review of the PolyMet project. It is supported by more than 100 technical studies totaling more than 14,000 pages. The project that we expect to be permitted meets Minnesota's regulations, which are among the toughest environmental standards in the country, if not the world," he said.

Mr. Scipioni continued, "Our EIS is not a blueprint for development of other projects in the area. Our whole project is located to the southwest of the Laurentian Divide and, therefore, is not in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness watershed. Our mine site is surrounded on three sides by existing or former mine sites and is within the main corridor of the Iron Range operations. The EIS is specific to our plans to reuse the existing Erie Plant facilities, including disposal of waste tailings, and construction of new facilities within the footprint of the brown field site.

"We plan to build this project in a manner that protects the environment. We also want to bring much-needed economic diversification and new jobs to our area of the state," Mr. Scipioni concluded.

Glencore Financing Summary

Upon completion of the second installment of the recently announced financing, which is to occur in January 2010, Glencore will have invested a total of US$50 million into PolyMet, comprising US$25 million equity at US$2.65 per share and US$25 million in debentures issued by PolyMet's the wholly owned US subsidiary. In addition, as of September 30, 2009 approximately US$0.9 million interest had been capitalized in the debentures. These debentures can be exchanged by Glencore into PolyMet common shares at US$4.00 per share.

By the end of January, Glencore will own 9,433,962 shares of PolyMet and be able to exchange US$25.9 million in debentures into an additional 6,471,081 shares, for a total of 15,905,043 shares representing 10.3% of PolyMet's issued shares on a partially diluted basis.

In addition, Glencore holds warrants to purchase 6,250,000 shares at US$3.00 per share that expire on September 30, 2011. When the Final EIS is published, if the 20-day volume-weighted average share price is 150% of the exercise price or more, PolyMet can give notice of accelerated expiry to 21 business days following issuance of the notice. Upon exercise of these warrants and exchange of the debentures, Glencore would own 21,155,043 shares or 13.7% of PolyMet's shares on a partially diluted basis.

Finally, US$25 million Tranche E of the debenture facility (not drawn) is available to the Company subject to publication of the Final EIS and receipt by the Company of a bona fide construction finance facility. These debentures are exchangeable into shares of PolyMet stock at US$2.65 per share. If drawn and if exchanged, Glencore would own an additional 9,433,962 shares.

Investor Warrant Summary

In April 2007, PolyMet issued 8.020 million share purchase warrants with a strike price of US$4.00 per share which originally expired in October 2008. These warrants were part of a unit offering of stock at US$2.75 per share, which was a narrow discount to market range of US$2.75-3.00 in the month prior to announcement of that transaction.

PolyMet restructured these warrants into 4.010 million being exercisable at US$3.00 within 30 days of publication of the draft EIS and 4.010 million being exercisable at US$5.00 prior to production or US$6.00 after production, expiring on September 30, 2011, thus preserving the

average US$4.00 strike price under the original terms.

After further restructuring, the terms of these warrants are now:

• 4,010,000 warrants, each warrant entitling the holder to purchase one share of PolyMet common stock at US$3.00 per share at any time until the earlier of 21 business days after publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement by the State of Minnesota in the state's Environmental Quality Board Monitor, or December 31, 2010.

• 4,010,000 warrants, each warrant entitling the holder to purchase one share of PolyMet common stock at US$5.00 if exercised before the project starts production, or US$6.00 after the commencement of production at any time until August 31, 2011.

PolyMet can accelerate warrant exercise if PolyMet's volume-weighted 20-day average stock price trades at a 50% premium to the conversion price applicable at the time.

Douglas Newby, CFO of PolyMet said, "The new agreement with Glencore provides us with funding through the completion of the permitting process and preparation for construction. It also demonstrates Glencore's continued support for the project and belief in the opportunity to develop this new copper, nickel and platinum group metal mine in the US.

"We have structured the warrants in such a way that, during the time between publication of the final EIS and receipt of an offer of construction finance, we have approximately $56 million of financing available from warrant exercise and Tranche E debentures, subject to fulfillment of certain conditions. Those funds would support equipment ordering and engineering leading up to permitting and the start of construction," Mr. Newby concluded.

* * * * *

About PolyMet
PolyMet Mining Corp. (www.polymetmining.com) is a publicly-traded mine development company that controls 100% 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 Mining Corp. has 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 one million man hours of construction labor and create at least 400 long-term jobs, a level of activity that will have a significant multiplier effect in the local economy.About Glencore
Glencore International AG, based in Baar, Switzerland, is a leading privately held, diversified natural resources company with worldwide activities in the smelting, refining, mining, processing, purchasing, selling and marketing of metals and minerals, energy products and agricultural products.

Glencore AG is a subsidiary of Glencore International AG. Glencore AG, which maintains offices in Stamford, Connecticut, has purchased the common stock from the Company and debentures from the Issuer in the ordinary course of its business. Glencore AG may from time to time acquire additional securities of the Issuer and/or the Company, dispose of some or all of the existing or additional securities it holds or will hold, or may continue to hold its then current position.

For further information, please contact:

Investors/Corporate Media

Douglas Newby LaTisha Gietzen

Chief Financial Officer VP Public, Governmental and Environmental Affairs

+1 (646) 879-5970 +1 (218) 225-4417

dnewby@polymetmining.com lgietzen@polymetmining.com

or:

Marc Ocskay

Glencore International AG

Tel: +41 41 709 2000

Fax: +41 41 709 3000

info@glencore.com

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning anticipated developments in PolyMet's operations in the future. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as "expects," "anticipates," "believes," "intends," "estimates," "potential," "possible," "projects," "plans," and similar expressions, or statements that events, conditions or results "will," "may," "could," or "should" occur or be achieved or their negatives or other comparable words. These forward-looking statements may include statements regarding our beliefs related to the expected proceeds and closing of the registered direct offering, exploration results and budgets, reserve estimates, mineral resource estimates, work programs, capital expenditures, actions by government authorities, including changes in government regulation, the market price of natural resources, costs, or other statements that are not a statement of fact. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements due to risks facing PolyMet or due to actual facts differing from the assumptions underlying its predictions. PolyMet's forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, expectations and opinions of management on the date the statements are made, and PolyMet does not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management's beliefs, expectations and opinions should change.

Specific reference is made to PolyMet's most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2009 and in our other filings with Canadian securities authorities and the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Report on Form 6-K providing information with respect to our operations for the six months ended July 31, 2009 for a discussion of some of the risk factors and other considerations underlying forward-looking statements.

The TSX has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Editorial: Anti-nonferrous forces out

Mesabi Daily News
November 15, 2009

Those who are against copper/nickel/precious metals mining on the Iron Range have made their intentions quite clear just days after the draft Environmental Impact Statement comment period kicked in for the PolyMet project.

They have no desire to give open-minded consideration to the EIS that took five years to formulate at a cost of more than $20 million. And they obviously have some deep pockets outside the area to tap for unconditional support.

A film that portrays the PolyMet mining project near Hoyt Lakes as a threat to clean water for the area. The move – "Precious Waters: Minnesota's Sulfide Mining Controversy," was shown last week in the Twin Cities area. Here's the coalition of groups that has made the film possible:

Sierra Club North Star Chapter, Midwest Mountaineering, Piragis Northwoods Co., Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest.

They, of course, claim a significant threat to the long-term preservation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Never mind there is no proof at all to back up such allegations.

Why not let the draft EIS review run its course; allow the public to have its say with various opinions; and let those who know what they are doing evaluate all of the environmental work done over the past few years? Why raise false fears based on sulfide mining elsewhere in vastly different geographical locations and without the aid of today's more modern technology?

There will be two public hearings on the project, one Dec. 9 in Aurora, the other Dec. 10 in Blaine. We will say each and every week from now until those hearings that there needs to be an overwhelming show of support from the Range for this initiative.

This project and other nonferrous ventures in the planning stages are critical to the economic future of the Range. The PolyMet project alone will create 400 new good-paying permanent jobs along with hundreds more spin-off jobs; and 1.5 million hours of construction work.

That means paychecks for families; money to be spent in Iron Range communities; and taxes generated locally for the state and the country. And doing so all the while important metals needed for a more "green" nation are produced.

Yet on a panel last week in the Twin Cities was a nemesis for this project and for jobs on the Range – state Rep. Alice Hausman, an author of legislation going after nonferrous mining.

So where are all area legislators acting together with a strongly-worded statement on behalf of the Iron Range Legislative Delegation in support of nonferrous mining? And where is a similar statement from Iron Range Resources Commissioner Sandy Layman?

Yes, they have all in some form in the past voiced support for such mining, but where are they now?

The delegation has had some big rifts in recent years with personality clashes. But this is about the very future of the Iron Range. It's an issue much bigger and important than any one lawmaker.

Other legislators in the state have often marveled at how Range legislators can be a formidable united group in St. Paul. It's definitely time now for that unity to surface on the Range and statewide regarding nonferrous mining.

And that should also go for Duluth legislators. They need to get behind this project big time. It was iron ore mining on the Range that drove the economy of Duluth. So Duluth legislators, step up now for another era of Iron Range mining.

What an impressive sight it would be for a combined news conference attended by all Range legislators, lawmakers from Duluth and the IRR commissioner and her boss, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in support of nonferrous mining. That would show a lot of political backbone.

Enough of any squabbles, whether DFL vs. GOP or intra-party DFL. There's too much at stake here folks.

Birch Lake Update

WDIO-TV
November 12, 2009

Franconia Minerals has launched a new study, for their precious metals project at Birch Lake.

The study will focus on how the natural rock will react after being exposed during the mining process.

Results will be used in the development of a future plan, to minimize potential environmental impacts.

Franconia's goal is to become the second company to build a copper-nickel-platinum group venture on the Iron Range, after PolyMet.

Comment on EIS: PolyMet project critical for jobs for Range

Mesabi Daily News
November 7, 2009

In a story last Tuesday we reported that the 90-day public comment period had begun on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the PolyMet copper/nickel/precious metals project.

Our annual perspective story on K-12 enrollment throughout the region, which includes a graphic with student numbers for school districts each year of this decade, is on today's front page.

What do those stories have to do with each other? Plenty. The student enrollment loss throughout the region has been dramatic. And the only way to really stem the downturn is more families and kids in the area. The only way that happens is jobs, jobs and more jobs.

The PolyMet nonferrous mining venture, to be located within the footprint of the former LTV Mining Co. near Hoyt Lakes, would create 400 good-paying permanent jobs; hundreds more spin-off jobs; and 1.5 million hours of construction work.

Those are a lot of jobs that would provide paychecks for a lot of working men and women and their families. And that would most certainly mean more students in Iron Range schools.

PolyMet's investors have spent more than $20 million the last five years for environmental review of what would be the first nonferrous mining operation in Minnesota. That's a lot of money spent on a lot of environmental scrutiny. The result is the draft EIS.

Some environmental groups have already assailed the EIS. Gee, what a surprise. Those doing so without giving the document a fair assessment have one goal, and it's not to provide more jobs for families in the area. That goal is simply to try to blow up the project and other nonferrous initiatives to follow.

That's why it's so incredibly vital for the very future of the Iron Range that those in the area use the comment period to voice their support for this project that has received so much solid environmental review.

When the two public hearings on the project are held on Dec. 9 in Aurora and Dec. 10 in Blaine there needs to be an overwhelming show of support from the Range for this initiative.

We are sure that there will be a good turnout at the Aurora meeting. After all, It will be on the Range. But it is imperative that there is an organized effort to fill some buses for people to travel to the suburb of Blaine to rally for the project. There is no doubt that Twin Cities environmentalists will be there in big numbers for a hearing in their backyard to criticize a venture that would create much-needed jobs for the Range, the state and really the nation.

Here are the Web sites where the draft EIS is available:

· http://www.polymetmining.com/

· www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/environmentalreview/polymet/index.html.

We urge people to go to the two sites and make their views known.

It's about time that there is more economic news on the Range than mining layoffs and then reopenings with fewer workers. Or news of extension of jobless benefits.

It's about time the news is of a new project moving forward with hundreds of new jobs.

And then, hopefully, in the next few years the annual K-12 enrollment story will include some upticks in numbers at some Range school districts because the PolyMet mining project is up and running. And that will then mean other nonferrous projects that produce minerals needed in our everyday lives and also for a more "green" society will be advanced.

Give PolyMet a Chance

Mesabi Misadventures Blog
November 7, 2009

The Friends of the Boundary Waters have recently begun touting their new anti-mining video that they have produced in response to the freshly released PolyMet Mining EIS.  As my own response to the PolyMet EIS, I have decided to break my writing block and begin a short series in support of PolyMet. 

Give me a voice.  A voice to stand up and defend attacks upon my character and the character of my mining colleagues. 
Give me a chance.  A chance to show that I value Mother Nature and the resources she has provided, both renewable and non.
Give me a moment.  A moment to illustrate all that has changed in mining technologies within the past ten years.
Give me a open-mind.  An open-mind that is willing to accept that this isn't an epic battle between the good guys and the bad.

Give me a fair playing field.  Recognize that many who could speak in favor of PolyMet are not granted the opportunity.
Give me fair word-play.  I am a "friend" of the Boundary Waters just like I am a "pro-life" pro-choicer.
Give me fair solutions.  Metals are needed (even for green projects) so provide engineering solutions that are economically feasible.
Give me global fairness.  Mining will either happen here or elsewhere; Minnesota has regulations to ensure workers and waters are kept safe.

Give me honesty.  Most PolyMet employees are long-term residents of Minnesota watersheds, not Canadian.  They are your neighbors.
Give me a break.  "Sulfide mining" is inflammatory and misleading.  Please call it what it is or risk your credibility – Cu/Ni/PPG mining.
Give me credit.  Rangers are more intelligent than outsiders like to think.  They are also the ones actually living downstream.
Give me balance.  If someone says Dunka is "screwed up royally," then the reporter should ask if they have ever set foot at Dunka.*

Give me science, not emotion.
Give me facts, not fears.
Give me solutions, not problems.
Give PolyMet and Minnesota a chance to become global leaders in environmentally responsible mining.

One Step Closer To MN’s First Copper-Nickel Mine

Northland News Center
November 3, 2009

The Iron Range is buzzing with the release of PolyMet's long-awaited environmental impact statement.

This week marks the beginning of the official public commentary period.

After four years of research and 1,800 pages, the publication of PolyMet's environmental impact statement brings Minnesota one step closer to building its first copper-nickel mine.

"There's a lot of ore and there could be nonferrous mining in Minnesota for a very long time," said vice president of governmental and environmental affairs for PolyMet, LaTisha Gietzen.

PolyMet is the furthest along of several companies looking to build copper-nickel mines on the Iron Range.

Copper-nickel mines have caused serious environmental damage in other parts of the world, raising concern, but PolyMet officials say the type of technology they will use won't have those damaging effects.

"We've got over 4 years of test data on our specific rock as well as technology that's being utilized to help protect the environment," said Gietzen.

Supporters say PolyMet's release of the EIS is an important step forward for a new industry in Minnesota.

"It's a chance to show that right here in Minnesota we can mine these metals, process them; the metals we use every day in laptops, cars, cell phones and we can do it in an environmentally responsible manner and actually reduce the carbon footprint and do it right here with Minnesota jobs that are right here in this region," said Frank Ongaro, executive director for Mining Minnesota.

The PolyMet project would create at least 400 permanent jobs.