A commentary in the News Tribune last week by Jane Reyer of the Minneapolis-based Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness earned an A+ for its anti-mining hyperbole but an F for truth (Local View: "Minnesotans could be left holding the bag after mining," June 22). At the heart of its assertions was that PolyMet's new copper-nickel mine, planned for the Iron Range, will be unable to fulfill its financial obligations to close and reclaim the mine or to handle unanticipated environmental events such as spills or leaks.
Our region is blessed with an abundance of base and precious metals. Our more than 4-billion-ton deposit of copper, nickel, and platinum-group metals is one of the largest in the world and holds a significant percentage of our U.S. resources for these metals. Unfortunately, our ability to develop these metals and the thousands of great-paying jobs they would create is jeopardized by the recent U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management proposal to withdraw federal land and minerals in Northeastern Minnesota from future leasing, exploration and potential development.
Is PolyMet a big deal? “Polymet will be creating the same economic impact as having the Super Bowl in Northeastern Minnesota every year for 24 years. They estimate when the Super Bowl comes to Minnesota (in two years), it’s going to be a half-a-billion-dollar, a 500-million-dollar, benefit to the state of Minnesota. That’s what PolyMet is going to do, plus (more), each and every year for 24 years. Let’s start there. Let’s look at the economic opportunity and then let’s go from there.”
The recent request by the Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Public Health Association and other various groups for additional review of health impacts related to the PolyMet project, as reported in the News Tribune a week ago today (“Groups want study of PolyMet health risks,” Oct.