MPCA releases second draft permit for Prairie River Minerals

Contact: Cori Rude-Young, 651-757-2680

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today released its second of two draft permits for Prairie River Minerals. The facility applied for an air quality permit and the MPCA is asking for public input on the draft permit. The draft air permit covers operations at the proposed Prairie River Minerals facility that emit air pollution, which includes primarily dust from the excavation of stockpiles and from material crushing and handling and vehicle traffic on haul roads. 

The main pollutants of concern are particulate matter (PM), PM less than 10 microns in aerodynamic diameter (PM10), and PM less than 2.5 microns in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5). The draft permit includes a Fugitive Emissions Control Plan which identifies primary and secondary controls to mitigate potential dust issues at the facility. This includes visible emission checks on material handling and unpaved roads as well as water sprays on material handling equipment.

The draft permit also requires the company to:

  • Track monthly and annual material processes
  • Perform testing requirements for material processing equipment
  • Keep records for visible emissions related to fugitive dust

The company is proposing to construct and operate a demonstration-scale scram mining and processing facility near Coleraine, Minnesota. The proposed project will produce approximately 156,000 metric tons per year of high-grade iron ore from existing natural ore waste rock stockpiles. The company will utilize ultra-high dense medium separation (UHDMS) technology to produce high grade iron lump ore and sinter feed product for evaluation at steel making facilities. In order to move forward, Prairie River Minerals needs both an air quality and water quality permit from the MPCA. The draft water quality permit is currently on public notice; public comment closes October 23, 2020.

The MPCA requests public comments on the draft air quality permit between October 9 and November 9, 2020. After public comment closes, the MPCA will review any comments and, if necessary, make changes to the draft permit. The MPCA will then review the administrative record and decide whether to issue the permit.

Visit the MPCA website for more information. Send written comments to Ben Wenkel (651-757-2603), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Rd. N., St. Paul, MN 55155 by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 9, 2020. Comments must state your interest, the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references, and specific reasons supporting your position.