Sulfide Mining Doesn’t Belong in Minnesota’s Cherished Waters
Proposed sulfide mines in Northeast Minnesota, including the PolyMet NorthMet project and the Twin Metals Minnesota project, threaten our lakes and rivers with significant ongoing water pollution.
These mines, which are different from traditional iron ore mines, have never been operated safely; no mine of this type is known to have operated and closed without polluting nearby lakes, rivers, or groundwater. Sulfide from mining has been shown, by science recently funded by the Legislature, to affect the entire ecosystem.
With the proposed sulfide mining areas draining into the St. Louis River, the headwaters of Lake Superior, or the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park, Minnesotans know better than to endanger our cherished waters for any price.
PolyMet’s own data show that ongoing water treatment would be required long after the mining stops — for 500 years or more. And even that isn’t good enough. The technology to fully protect our clean water for generations going forward does not exist. Even the most advanced water treatment does no good for water that can’t be captured and treated.
Sulfide mining in a water-rich environment like northern Minnesota is a high-risk gamble. We need to protect our water, our families’ health, our wildlife, and taxpayer resources from pollution and harm caused by sulfide mining.