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Corps of Engineers, partners nearly complete with PolyMet environmental impact statement

Published Aug. 23, 2013
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 they will finish the NorthMet nonferrous mining environmental review by the end of November.

The PolyMet Mining Corporation is proposing to operate a nonferrous mine, known as Northmet, near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. The company would mine copper, nickel and other precious metals. The three co-lead agencies need to complete an environmental impact statement, or EIS, prior to determining whether to issue a permit.

The agencies are finalizing the 1,800-page document, known as a supplemental draft environmental impact statement, or supplemental draft EIS. The statement will be published in the Federal Register and the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board Monitor. The supplemental draft EIS is a significant revision and addition to the original 2009 draft EIS. Once complete, the supplemental draft EIS will provide the public with the most current information and environmental analysis of the project. The agencies have worked on the document for more than three years.

The agencies originally scheduled to release the supplemental draft EIS late this summer but opted to wait until November to thoroughly address important comments recently received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and cooperating tribes such as Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. To date, the co-lead agencies have not made any regulatory decisions on the proposed mine.

Once the agencies release the document, a public review period will begin. Public comments will be considered during preparation of the final EIS. The Corps will make the final regulatory decision after the EIS process is complete.

The nearly 700 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, employees working at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states serve the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. Through the Corps’ Fiscal Year 2011 $175 million budget, nearly 2,800 non-Corps jobs were added to the regional economy as well as $271 million to the national economy. For more information, see


Release no. 13-097