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Local View: Minnesota's minerals key to our clean-energy future

From the column: "Twin Metals will be the first mine in the state of Minnesota to adopt battery electric vehicle technology, (allowing) us to reduce our onsite greenhouse gas emissions by 65%. Additional benefits will include a decrease in power requirements for underground ventilation and heating, a reduction in maintenance needs, noise reduction, and improved worker safety and air quality."

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The Epiroc Minetruck MT42 Battery is a mining truck for both underground mining and civil construction applications. This large electric truck is suitable for both development and production haulage. / Photo courtesy of Epiroc
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The time is now to embrace our collective responsibilities in the looming climate crisis. Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a new assessment on climate change that the United Nations called a “code red for humanity.” While the report highlights the consequences of warming, report co-chair Valerie Masson-Delmotte offers a glimmer of hope by saying that we can avoid accelerated levels of warming “by acting on greenhouse gas emissions.”

For us to act to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, we must make continued investments in sustainable technology. This will require responsibly sourced minerals such as copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum-group metals.

The International Energy Agency — whose mission is to work with governments and industry to shape a secure and sustainable energy future for all — has released data confirming that the demand for minerals needed for clean-energy technology will double by 2040, dominated by copper and nickel. These minerals will increasingly be harder to import and secure, and it is imperative our country sources them domestically.

In Northeastern Minnesota, we have a vast untapped resource of the minerals necessary to sustain a clean-energy future. It’s called the Duluth Complex, and it contains a significant portion of our nation’s copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum-group metals resources.

For these reasons, Twin Metals Minnesota has worked for more than a decade to advance the nation’s most sustainable and advanced underground copper-nickel mining project. Just last week, we furthered that commitment by announcing the latest development in our state-of-the-art project: We are investing in an all-electric vehicle fleet.

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Twin Metals will be the first mine in the state of Minnesota to adopt battery electric vehicle technology, and this shift will allow us to reduce our onsite greenhouse gas emissions by 65%. Additional benefits will include a decrease in power requirements for underground ventilation and heating, a reduction in maintenance needs, noise reduction, and improved worker safety and air quality.

We are making these historic investments in sustainable technology for our project because it’s the right thing to do. As vice president of project development for Twin Metals, an important part of my job is ensuring that we are always looking for ways to innovate, improve our project, and set the standard for modern mining. We are committed to not only providing the metals needed to help combat climate change but to ensuring we are doing everything possible to reduce any potential impacts from our operation.

Our commitment to lead the way with clean-energy technology aligns with a target set by President Joe Biden this month for 50% of all new vehicles sold in the United States by 2030 to be zero-emissions vehicles. And in July, Gov. Tim Walz announced that clean-car standards were going into effect in Minnesota, requiring vehicle manufacturers to deliver passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs that produce lower greenhouse-gas emissions and other pollutants.

We look forward to proving through the state and federal regulatory processes that our world-class mining project can protect the surrounding environment while also providing critical minerals and family-sustaining jobs to Northeastern Minnesota.

This is our home, sustainability is our commitment, and we are just getting started.

Glenn Barr is vice president of project development for Twin Metals Minnesota, based in St. Paul. He leads engineering studies, oversees test work programs, and integrates environmental protections and sustainability initiatives into the Twin Metals project design. He wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune.

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The battery electric BT3 Boom Truck is manufactured by MacLean out of Ontario, Canada. / Photo by James Hodgins, courtesy of MacLean

Related Topics: TWIN METALS
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