December 16, 2014 Research presentation for Environmental Politics.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - PolyMet Presentation
• Where is PolyMet based out of?
Based in Minnesota with corporate location in Toronto,
• How new is the company?
PolyMet began in1981
• Do they have prior experience with this type of
No they do not
• What company has the most invested in
My Research Thus far
A lot of great articles covering the many topics I have presented. Most
interestingly has been the health concerns in the Duluth News Tribune.
Solar, Duluth News Tribune, broad searches, Medical Journals
CSS Library, Home, Coffee Shops, UMD Political Debate
• Problems with Peer Review sources:
Many are hard to find that are understandable
Too few on the subject
More recent problems that have come up will not have peer reviewed
What is sulfide mining?
• How does the process work?
Open Pit Mining
• What kinds of metals are extracted?
Copper, Nickel, Cobalt, Silver, Platinum, Titanium, Palladium, Gold, and
“Cellphones contain nine minerals including copper, gold, palladium and
platinum, along with a variety of petroleum products” (SME Foundation)
• What is the track record of prior sulfide
Majority of sulfide mining has negatively affected nearby watersheds
Breaking down the resources
PolyMet Annual estimation for metal production
Average Male African Bush Elephant Weighs 6 tons
Copper: 39,000 tons
Nickel: 9,000 tons
Cobalt: 400 tons
Platinum: 1,375 lbs
Palladium: 5,437.5 lbs
Gold: 862.5 lbs
If we are pumping out oil, why not do the same for sulfide mining?
• Short term and long term environmental impacts
• World Governments have been implementing carbon free renewable energy
“America’s reliance on foreign minerals has more than doubled in the past 30
How has PolyMet
• Revised proposal on their website
• Allowed the public to voice concerns
• New technology to contain leakage and treat
Has PolyMet provided sufficient arguments that the environment won’t
be significantly harmed?
• The issue is not if they can or cant, instead the question should be raised;
can we regulate them?
• MN DNR, CORPS of Engineers, and U.S. Forest Service released a
thousand plus page document addressing EPA concerns
• “The project is not predicted to result in any significant changes to ground
water and surface water flows when compared to existing conditions“
The Duluth Complex
Closed LTV Mining Site
Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota
6 miles away from the NorthMet Ore Body
PolyMet plans to refurbish the mining site as it makes more sense economically in comparison to creating a new one. In a way this
would lessen the environmental impact. Will also utilize rail cars back and forth between the three mine sites.
Does PolyMet have sufficient resources to provide ongoing efforts to
clean up any environmental contamination and damage?
• Bankruptcy proof funding, established during permitting to ensure funds are
available to finance all closure and reclamation activities
• Past mining operations have gone bankrupt
• Treatment at mine site two hundred years, five hundred years at plant site
• Flambeau Mine success story in Wisconsin
• Financially backed up by Glencore who own 18% of the company. They are
like the Monsanto of mining
Recent opinions in the Duluth
• What concerns have been raised?
• What would be the benefits to the local cities and state of Minnesota?
• Health concerns surrounding PolyMet. For example: Should there be health
Do the benefits to Minnesota outweigh the potential risks?
I personally believe that the benefits outweigh the risks, if PolyMet’s operations
can be regulated.This is why:
• PolyMet Mining will generate an estimated $515 million in wages, benefits,
and spending in St. Louis County
• Federal, state, and local taxes from the project would total near $80 million
• $15 million annually in state tax revenue
• $45 million annually in federal tax revenue
• School trust lands
Duluth politics and
• DFL Jennifer Schultz: favors mining
Economic growth vs Environmental Damage
• Green Party Kristine Osbakken: Very much opposed to
• Republican Becky Hall: In favor of mining, similar to
Schultz with less restrictions
Why is it that the environmental impact matters when its close to home,
but not so much attention is given to mining overseas?
• Many wealthy nations tend to push or send their pollutants elsewhere to
• It is easier not to think about what is occurring across the globe
• Most of the environmental impact is localized and not towards the global
Where do we go from
Mining is woven into every day life here. Supporting generations of workers and their families, and
building the communities in which they live. This process has made me think and care about a large
issue that is close by, in our own backyard.