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Local View Column: Trust the local PolyMet team, backed by Glencore, to deliver for Minnesota

PolyMet is reusing and reclaiming the former LTV Steel Mining site near Hoyt Lakes. Photo courtesy of PolyMet Mining.
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When PolyMet Mining received the final permits necessary to begin construction of the NorthMet project, regional economic developers and building-trades leaders celebrated. A project of this scale promises to have a dramatic and positive impact on our state’s economy, especially here in the Northland. The project will support significant job increases in both direct and indirect industries, including health care, retail, government, and construction, among many others. As a local company, PolyMet already has demonstrated a commitment to “buy local” with a project labor agreement in place to ensure local and regional contractors and Building Trades members build the project.

Glencore’s investment in PolyMet has not been a secret. Over the last 10-plus years that PolyMet navigated the permitting process, it did so openly, with financial and technical support from Glencore. Building Trades leaders, economic developers, and business owners understand this is an important part of not only most mining-industry investment strategies but also venture-capital and other debt-heavy investment opportunities. Multibillion-dollar projects must be financed; and individual, especially local, companies are simply unable to make this investment alone. Instead, they turn to stable, often multinational companies that can manage a calculated risk, help deliver financial certainty, and provide technical expertise for the uncertain duration of a project.

While we don’t know all the reasons Glencore chose PolyMet’s NorthMet Project for its first mining venture in the U.S., one of the reasons might be its trust in PolyMet’s team to develop a project that will meet the requirements of the law. Another might be its preference to invest in stable social, political, and economic climates where there are high standards in place and even higher expectations from regulators, elected officials, and local communities that those standards be met. And it could be that Glencore liked the idea of being in on the ground floor of mining one of the world’s premier undeveloped copper-nickel and precious-metals resources.

It is our expectation that PolyMet will hold strong to our Minnesota standards and all the commitments it has made to ensure the project progresses safely, sustainably, and profitably throughout its life, regardless of levels of ownership.

From an economic-development and building-trades perspective, Glencore’s investment should be celebrated.


Glencore has been a reliable partner in the NorthMet project for more than a decade, investing almost $400 million to ensure the project becomes a reality. This investment represents jobs, economic stability, and the potential to grow our state’s mining sector for several decades.

Minnesota’s Building Trades will work an estimated 2 million construction hours on the $950 million project, updating the former LTV Steel taconite processing facilities, building and rebuilding infrastructure, and building the new mine and other assets — all within Minnesota’s established Mesabi Iron Range mining district.

The NorthMet project will create up to 1,000 direct and spin-off jobs for hardworking Minnesotans. At the project site, more than 360 family-sustaining jobs will go to middle-class workers directly employed by PolyMet. Glencore’s increased support ensures that these promised jobs will become a reality.

A strong industrial sector leads to a stronger economy overall. Growth in the industrial sector has a greater impact than growth in any other sector, generating more jobs, increasing total outputs, and generating more tax revenue for our state. Glencore’s involvement with PolyMet invites confidence for other large companies to invest in our state. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed.

We stand with PolyMet in support of this next chapter in the project’s development. As any other newcomer to Minnesota, we expect Glencore, as a majority investor in PolyMet, to hold strong to our values and standards and to help move the NorthMet project forward.

Brian Hanson is president and CEO of APEX (, a regional, privately led force for economic development, based in Duluth. And Craig Olson is president of the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council.


Brian Hanson

Related Topics: POLYMET
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