PolyMet Responds to Controversy Over New Groundwater Data

Created: 01/25/2014 3:58 PM

PolyMet is responding to a controversy over new information about stream flow at the proposed copper-nickel mine site.

Opponents of the mine say new data shows that more groundwater will need to be treated than was initially reported in the supplemental draft environmental impact statement.

In a statement on Saturday, PolyMet said that the initial estimates used data from about 17 miles away from the mine site. They said the new data is coming from a gauging station closer to the mine site, and it shows an amount of groundwater that approximately triples the previous numbers.

Opponents of the mine say the new numbers mean that the entire draft environmental review is flawed. In its statement, though, PolyMet says that numbers even higher than these new ones have already been plugged into models and show no negative impact.

PolyMet says the previous data reported that groundwater from the mine site will add 0.5 cubic feet per second (cfs) of flow to the Partridge River, while data from a newer gauging station closer to the site reports a groundwater contribution of between 1.3 and 1.8 cfs.

The DNR is defending the water modeling in the review, and says concerns expressed about it will help it create a better final version. The third and last public hearing about the proposed project is Tuesday, Jan. 28, in St. Paul.

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