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Reader’s View: PolyMet a project of which Minnesotans can be proud

*Jeremy M. Fryberger is chairman of Hallett Dock Co.

Minnesota’s mining industry has, over the decades, provided livelihoods for hundreds of thousands of Iron Range residents. Mining is the economic base for thriving business communities and provided the economic structure for the development of Duluth and northern Minnesota. It all began with the opening of our iron ranges, Vermilion in 1884 and Mesabi in 1892.

So it is no surprise there is considerable interest in PolyMet’s project to develop Minnesota’s first nonferrous (copper-nickel) mine near Hoyt Lakes (“DNR deems PolyMet review ‘adequate,’ ” March 4). During 11 years of PolyMet responsibly addressing environmental and processing challenges, we have watched this project’s gradual development from:

  • Infancy, during the initial phase of drilling to define the extent of mineral reserves to the
  • Design of mine, power, rail and other project infrastructure to a
  • Decade of unprecedented, in-depth, responsible research of the mining process to ensure the protection of air and water from possible toxic wastes, and to, finally,
  • The enlightened, visionary and responsible collaboration of regulatory agencies, namely the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the development and final approval of a Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Continuing the rich heritage of Minnesota’s mining industry, a major contributor of America’s industrial growth and national security, this project should be a point of pride for Minnesotans. After more than a decade of persevering effort and after expenditures in excess of

$250 million to develop environmentally responsible mining and processing practices, PolyMet will, arguably, be the benchmark of copper-nickel mining, not only in Minnesota but in North America, providing the minerals so necessary to produce the technological advances in support of our nation’s ever-increasing standard of living while providing the jobs and taxes to support our Iron Range communities.

 

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