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Babbitt | PolyMet NorthMet project

Aerial view of proposed mining project area

Poly Met Mining, Inc. (PolyMet) proposes to develop a mine and processing plant to extract copper, nickel, and precious metals from the NorthMet Deposit in northeastern Minnesota.

Our role

The MPCA's role is to protect water and air. One way MPCA fulfills this role is through issuing environmental permits.

When any facility submits an application to MPCA to obtain a permit, technical staff review the application and evaluate whether the facility can meet applicable environmental regulations and standards. The MPCA then develops facility-specific permit conditions. Permit conditions ensure that all standards are met by specifying how the facility must be operated, describing monitoring that must be conducted, and limiting the type and amount of water discharges or air emissions.

The individual air quality and NPDES/SDS wastewater permits for the NorthMet project, and Section 401 (Clean Water Act) certification are effective Dec. 20, 2018.

Project information

The NorthMet project is located about six miles south of Babbitt and one mile south of the existing Northshore (iron ore) Mine. Processing of the ore would take place at the former LTV taconite plant near Hoyt Lakes.

The total project includes a new open pit mine, temporary and permanent waste rock disposal areas, recommissioning of an existing processing plant and tailings basin, and refurbishment of an existing seven-mile railroad and utilities corridor between the mine and plant sites.

More information

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a comprehensive environmental review of the proposed project: NorthMet Mining and Land Exchange Final Environmental Impact Statement (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)