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Twin Metals Minnesota

sulfideHere’s more background about sulfide mining proposals in Minnesota. Those in the state who won’t let the horrific Twin Metals proposal die an easy death may mean well by their own lights, but are in fact exercising extremely poor judgment.
 

Trump’s Interior Department is reinstating two 1966 leases, written before today’s federal environmental laws, that could allow a Chilean mining company to build a giant copper-and-nickel mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters wilderness area in northern Minnesota.
 
The mining company is controlled by Andrónico Luksic, whose family controls a mining, banking and industrial empire that Forbes estimates is valued at $13.1 billion. Luksic also dabbles in Washington, D.C., residential real estate and has a business relationship with the Trump family. He is First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner’s and First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s landlord…
 
Twin Metals Minnesota, a subsidiary of Antofagasta PLC, sued in federal court over the leases for 4,800 acres on the southwest border of the Boundary Waters even before the Obama administration decided in December 2016 against renewing them.
(DCReport.org)

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Twin Metals backers skip listening session

by Dan Burns on July 19, 2017 · 0 comments

sulfideThis isn’t about PolyMet. The Twin Metals mine is the one that would be right on the edge of the BWCA. Governor Dayton publicly announced his opposition a while ago. Twin Metals is trying to plow ahead anyway, but undoubtedly to their shock the Trump administration doesn’t seem to be with them. So this proposed atrocity is looking like a long shot, these days, but that doesn’t mean anyone should relax, and as you can tell from the article a lot of righteous people know that.
 

With one side refusing to show up, opponents of copper-nickel mining on the edge of Minnesota’s pristine wilderness packed a hearing Tuesday in the Twin Cities.
 
A group of 17 organizations that support the mining proposal boycotted the event, while speakers from a crowd of about 1,000 were unanimous in opposing copper-nickel mining in a watershed on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park…
 
Those boycotting Tuesday’s event say they’ll continue to make their case for mining “loud and clear” at a hearing next week in Virginia, Minn.
 
“Why must the people with the greatest stake, whose jobs and regional economic viability are at risk, have to keep turning out for these charades?” the group said in a statement. “When was the last time federal agencies held a hearing Up North on projects in the Twin Cities, such as the Green Line or St. Croix River Crossing?”
(Star Tribune)

When people start whining about “charades,” in contexts like this, it’s a good sign that they just don’t have the mojo working.
 

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sulfideThis is not the PolyMet project. It is the one proposed for right next to the BWCA. Governor Dayton, among many others, already publicly opposes it. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) has proposed federal legislation to block it.
 

U.S. Forest Service officials on Monday said they are “deeply concerned” about potential impacts of the proposed Twin Metals copper mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and announced a public comment period before the agency’s decision on extending mining leases for the project.
(Duluth News Tribune)

More:
 

Antofagasta PLC holds two federal mineral leases that were issued in 1966 as part of their Twin Metals Minnesota proposal. One of these mineral leases includes land within a quarter mile of the wilderness boundary. The Forest Service has been asked by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management whether it “consents” to the extension of these leases for ten more years. If the Forest Service does not give consent to extend these leases, Twin Metals’ sulfide mine proposal on the edge of the Boundary Waters would be prevented from polluting the wilderness…
 
The Forest Service will start a thirty day public input period beginning on June 20th, one week from (Monday). They will also hold a public hearing on whether to deny the Twin Metals leases in Duluth on July 13th. The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness will be there in force, and intends to gather tens of thousands of public comments supporting a decision that protects the BWCA from sulfide mining.
(Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness)

As for PolyMet, it’s still in the process of getting more permits. The world markets for copper and nickel remain ugly. (Click on the link and look at, for example, the five-year copper chart.)
 

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bwcaThis is a different deal than PolyMet. Twin Metals Minnesota is planning a potentially horrific environmental disaster right about where the South Kawishiwi River runs into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. That project is at least a couple of years behind PolyMet, is my understanding. A preliminary Environmental Impact Statement, which would be Big Step #1, has not yet been submitted.
 

Monday afternoon, Governor Dayton released a letter sent to the COO of Twin Metals Minnesota informing him of his “strong opposition” to any mining in close proximity to the Boundary Waters Wilderness. Governor Dayton’s position is that the BWCAW is a “crown jewel in Minnesota and a national treasure” that needs to be protected from the inherent risks of sulfide mining pollution. His letter will go down as one of the strongest statements of conservation leadership by a Governor in Minnesota history.
 
The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is deeply appreciative of the leadership of Governor Dayton. His statement about the need to protect the Boundary Waters from the threat posed by mining proposals next to the wilderness was sorely needed.
(Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness)

If Twin Metals doesn’t just pack it in, by the time its approval process gets really serious, Mark Dayton quite possibly will no longer be governor. His successor could be someone like Tina Smith or Lori Swanson. Or, it could be someone like Kurt Daudt. You get the picture.
 

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Actually, no. The PolyMet project is the one that’s getting most of the attention now. Substantially less far along is the plan by Twin Metals Minnesota to put a sulfide mine right next to where the South Kawishiwi River connects with the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Twin Metals’s parent company is Duluth Metals Ltd.
 
duluth
 

I’ll be liveblogging election results tomorrow night.
 

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amd_300This is a very important online article about the mining proposals in Minnesota, that I need to pass along. I really encourage clicking and reading the whole thing. With PolyMet and Twin Metals, we’re talking about financial houses of cards that are deliberately constructed that way.
 

Given the dissolute nature of the thirty-three-year old ne’er-do-well PolyMet, and given the evidence of the faithless nature of the senior mining companies in general, you’d think that the regulators at the DNR would be screaming and demanding a guarantee of the environmental liability obligations of PolyMet by Glencore, wouldn’t you?
 
Well, my friends, you’d be sadly mistaken if you thought that. At the hearing on financial assurances in the Minnesota House last session that I mentioned earlier, representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said they would not seek guarantys of environmental liability obligations from shareholders of PolyMet, even a large shareholder like Glencore, which is in practical control of PolyMet.
 
You can bet your bottom dollar that the moment that Glencore decides, We don’t see the upside, that the State of Minnesota, its citizens, its environment, and even PolyMet, itself, will be holding a potentially very large bag. That is an especial concern when the mine closes, in say twenty years, and there is no more revenue coming from it.
(Left.MN)

And this one has valuable debunking:
 

If you take U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden’s words literally, he’s making a lofty promise.
 
On at least a couple of occasions, when discussing regulations on mining jobs, McFadden has pointed to the copper and nickel reserves in northern Minnesota.
 
“It has Bakken-type economic impact on our state,” he said on conservative talk radio in May. He repeated the line when talking with MinnPost’s Eric Black a few weeks ago. “It’s a game-changer for the region.”
 
“Bakken” refers to the oil- and gas-producing region in North Dakota, an economic engine that has completely transformed the western half of the state in under a decade.
 
And there’s where the analogy falls apart. If industry-favored projections are correct, copper and nickel mining would, right away, provide a modest boost for Minnesota’s economy, while potentially leading to bigger gains in later years. But those estimates, rosy as they might be, produce not even one-tenth the jobs Bakken has created in North Dakota.
(MinnPost)

To buy into “industry-favored projections” is indicative of just jaw-dropping naivete. And/or, of course, personal agendas.
 

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Little support for new mining in Minnesota

by Dan Burns on September 23, 2013 · 0 comments

KawishiwiRiver1But very strong support for environmental protection. Mining Truth had some polling done about proposed projects in Minnesota.
 

In the statewide poll, more people oppose proposed mines (32%) than support them (28%) with the rest unsure. In the Eighth Congressional District where the mines would be located, the support outpaces the opposition, by a 40% – 27% margin with the rest unsure…
 
Respondents in both polls were also unified when asked if mining should be prohibited in areas where the runoff could enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 75 percent of the statewide respondents, and 62 percent of the Eighth Congressional District respondents agreed with that statement. A strong majority in each poll also agreed that efforts to create needed jobs in the region should not include relaxing or repealing Minnesota’s current environmental laws.
(Mining Truth)

Even in MN-08, which has the mining industry in the north part and is way too conservative in farm country at the south end, there’s not even particularly close to majority support. Note that Public Policy Polling – that is, the best, among very active, private pollsters – was used.
 
The picture (titled “Kawishiwi River near Ely,“ from the USGS) is of the sort of setting in the BWCA that will be at severe risk, if the Twin Metals Kawishiwi River project is built and operated without adequate environmental safeguards. And since there is no feasible way to work such an operation (including the proposed PolyMet project, near Hoyt Lakes) even at break-even, much less profitably, with adequate safeguards – not even close – the risk certainly would be realized. Whatever naïve and misguided, if well-meaning, individuals, including plenty in or near political power, might claim.
 

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thidI4516115766313161pid1If they can. Here’s the deal. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) straddles part of the Minnesota/Ontario border. What with not being so much the trekking, camping type, I haven’t been there, but knowledgeable sources tell me that it is quite literally heaven on earth. Spectacular and powerful.
 
A corporate entity called Twin Metals Minnesota wants to dig and operate a big mine, for copper, nickel and whatever else turns up, right about where the South Kawishiwi River connects with the BWCA. (Here’s a PDF map; we’re talking about the one that says “Duluth Metals.“ More about the various corporate tentacles involved, below.) The project has the (almost giddy) support of many of the state’s top elected officials, which in Minnesota right now means Democrats, who have been seduced by the siren call of purported jobs and “economic development.”
 
Here are the two main issues:
 
– Can this mine happen without serious, long-term environmental damage? There is every reason to be exceedingly doubtful, as a project of this nature has never happened before, without negative environmental consequences.
 
– There is also little reason to be confident that it will be all that great for the area’s economy, to say the least. Frankly, quite the contrary.
 
In the past, I’ve been skeptical, including on this blog, that this project will really happen. I believed that the investor/shareholder “benefit” in “cost/benefit” would be determined not to be there. I was wrong. This is very serious.
 
…READ MORE

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thidI4516115766313161pid1The prominent advocacy organization American Rivers just named the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to its “Most Endangered” list for 2013.
 

The Boundary Waters is threatened by a proposed copper nickel mine near the South Kawishiwi River, a popular entry point to the Boundary Waters wilderness area and a source of drinking water for Minnesota residents and visitors. The mine, proposed within the Superior National Forest and just outside the wilderness area, would produce large quantities of waste rock, sulfuric acid, and a variety of toxic metals. Polluted runoff from the mine poses a public health concern because of fish and drinking water contamination and threatens the Boundary Waters ecosystem…
 
“The Boundary Waters is a unique and beloved wilderness of lakes of rivers,” said Betsy Daub, policy director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. “The region should not be a guinea pig for risky new mines, which have never before operated without causing serious water pollution.”
 
(Mining Truth)

 
…READ MORE

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