SULFIDE MINING THREATENS OUR CLEAN WATER
Proposed sulfide mines in Northeast Minnesota, such as the PolyMet NorthMet project and the Twin Metals Minnesota project, threaten our lakes and rivers with significant ongoing water pollution. PolyMet’s own data show that ongoing water treatment would be required long after the mining stops – for 500 years or more.
No operation of this type is known to have operated and closed without polluting nearby lakes, rivers, or groundwater. The proposed sulfide mining areas drain into the St. Louis River and Lake Superior or the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park. PolyMet relies on out-of-date, bargain basement technology, including the practice of storing tailings mixed with water in a basin much like the one that collapsed at Mt. Polley in 2014. The PolyMet proposal doesn’t meet modern standards and should not be approved.
The technology to fully protect our clean water for future generations does not exist. Even the most advanced water treatment does no good if water can’t be captured to be treated. Sulfate from mining has been shown, by science recently funded by the Legislature, to affect the entire ecosystem.
Sulfide mining in a water-rich environment like 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.