Northshore Mining

Northshore Mining Company is proposing a project to relocate the West Ridge railroad at the Milepost 7 Tailings Basin, including the construction of a new embankment that will ultimately become part of the dam defining the final footprint of the tailings basin. The railroad is being relocated approximately 4,000 feet to the northwest, to accommodate the final expansion of the mine’s tailings basin. The area proposed for the tailings basin progression and related infrastructure is approximately 1,200 acres.

The site is located approximately six miles west of Silver Bay, in Lake County, Minnesota.

Public comment

The draft 401 water quality certification is available for public review and comment from October 19 to November 11, 2020.

Written comments (mail or email) should include:

  1. Your interest in the application or the draft certification.
  2. The action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to the section of the draft certification you believe should be changed.
  3. The reasons supporting your position, stated with sufficient specificity as to allow the MPCA to investigate the merits of the position.

Direct comments to:
Jen Oknich
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul, MN 55155

Proposed 401 water quality certification

Northshore Mining railroad relocation and tailings basin expansionThis project proposes to impact approximately 5,200 feet of Big Thirtynine Creek, 3,400 feet of Little Thirtynine Creek and 310 acres of wetlands.

Mitigation for wetland impacts is proposed through the purchase of wetland bank credits. Mitigation for stream impacts is proposed to include six separate stream restoration projects, to be completed by the applicant.


Current status

Permitting process

Next steps

After the public comment period closes, the MPCA will review any comments and, if necessary, make changes to the draft certification. The 401 water quality certification can only be issued if the facility is able to meet all applicable requirements. To meet the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers timeline, the MPCA has until December 31, 2020, to make an issuance decision.

For more information

Contact: Jen Oknich, 651-757-2886

General 401 water quality certification information