Special Public Notice Regarding Clean Water Act Section 404 Public Hearing and Submission of Public Comments for the PolyMet Project (1999-05528-JKA)
NOTE: Public Notice extended to December 31, 2015
This is a Notice of Availability of Final Environmental Impact Statement and Supplemental Notice for Section 404 Permit Application providing additional information regarding opportunities for public comment on the proposed discharge of dredged and fill material into waters of the U.S. associated with the PolyMet Mining Inc. proposed NorthMet Project.
Project Description and Purpose: A joint federal/state Final Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District; the U.S. Forest Service, Superior National Forest; and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that describes the anticipated environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the proposed PolyMet Mining, Inc. NorthMet Project and Land Exchange.
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The Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, and its partners – the U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – worked together to develop a comprehensive, robust Final Environmental Impact Statement, or FEIS, for the proposed PolyMet mining project near Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota.
The agencies reviewed and responded to public comments from three public meetings, to include a Corps public hearing in Duluth, Minnesota. In addition, the Corps, and its partners, collectively received more than 58,000 submissions and thematically responded to approximately 17,000 unique comments from the public engagement and Supplemental Draft EIS review.
The agencies have publicly released the NorthMet Mining and Land Exchange FEIS. Completion of the nearly 3,000-page environmental document signifies a major step forward in the review process, which has been thoughtful, independent and thorough. Despite the FEIS being released, no permit decisions have been made. After the environmental review process is complete, the project will still need to receive local, state and federal approvals and permits in order to proceed. This includes the Corps’ Department of the Army permit.
The PolyMet Mining Company is proposing to develop a copper-nickel mine. The open pit mine, waste rock stockpiles and other mine-site facilities would disturb around 1,400 acres. The least reactive waste rock would be stored in a permanent stockpile adjacent to the mine. The most reactive waste rock would be stored temporarily in lined surface stockpiles and then backfilled into the mine pit and permanently stored under water. Ore processing would take place at the former LTV Steel Mining Company’s taconite ore processing plant. The plant would need to be refurbished and modified to process base and precious metal sulfide ore. PolyMet has estimated the project would have direct impacts on about 900 acres of wetlands. Most of these wetlands at the mine site abut the Partridge River, which is part of a tributary system to Lake Superior. The potential for elevated levels of sulfate and metals in drainage water from the open pits, stockpiles and tailings basin is a concern.
PolyMet Mining, Inc., has proposed to construct and operate an open pit mine approximately 6 miles south of Babbitt in St. Louis County, Minnesota. The ore from this mine would be hauled approximately 8 miles west on an existing railroad line for processing in an idle taconite ore processing plant. The processing plant is approximately 6 miles north of Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. The ore would be crushed and processed to extract copper, nickel, cobalt and precious metals by flotation, dissolution and precipitation. The waste from the mine, or tailings, would be discharged into an existing taconite tailings basin.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, have completed the PolyMet Mining Final Environmental Impact Statement, or Final EIS.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with the U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, are reminding everyone that the NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement public comment period will end March 13.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, assisted by the U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, is hosting a public hearing for the proposed PolyMet Mining project Clean Water Act permit application in Duluth, Minn., Jan. 16, 2014.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District; the U.S. Forest Service; and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, announced today, Aug. 23, that the they will finish the NorthMet nonferrous mining environmental review by the end of November.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District, Regulatory Branch
180 5th Street E, Suite 700
Saint Paul, MN 55101
Phone: (800) 290-5847