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Reader's View: PolyMet has good answers to tough questions

As a candidate for state representative and someone who lives 15 miles from PolyMet, I have been researching information from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, pro- and anti-mining websites, mines that have succeeded and are in opera...

As a candidate for state representative and someone who lives 15 miles from PolyMet, I have been researching information from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, pro- and anti-mining websites, mines that have succeeded and are in operation, and mines that have failed.

Before deciding whether to support the PolyMet project, I needed the facts.

PolyMet has sound answers for addressing specific concerns and an overall plan that is mindful of our environment.

One concern is the possibility of the tailings basin rupturing, as happened in British Columbia at Mount Polley. But it had sidewalls on its basin at a 77 percent grade. PolyMet is to have sidewalls at a 13 percent grade. I have hills in my yard steeper than that. It's not going anywhere.

The process for creating a mine is significantly different than it used to be. Mining failures were largely based on technology developed 40-plus years ago. We don't use acid to leach minerals out the rock anymore. It is ground up similar to taconite, then the metals are skimmed off with a bubble mixture while the tailings settle out. Parts that would convert to sulfuric acid go with the metals, so the tailings pond is actually pH-neutral, not acidic. Something akin to drain tile is used to catch seepage and pump it back for treatment.

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I'm not afraid to ask tough questions; PolyMet has good answers to concerns that have been raised. I will continue to ask good questions to ensure our water is protected as we bring new jobs to the region.

Shaun Hainey

Pike Township

Related Topics: POLYMET
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