DNR Denies Request to Reconsider PolyMet's Tailings Basin Permits

The DNR has denied a request to reconsider permits for PolyMet regarding the tailings basin. The DNR has denied a request to reconsider permits for PolyMet regarding the tailings basin. |  Photo: WDIO FILE

Updated: August 07, 2019 05:39 PM

Another day, another update about the permits for PolyMet. On Wednesday, the Minnesota DNR announced they have denied a request to reconsider the tailings basin permits for PolyMet.


Environmental groups, individuals, and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa had made the request, citing concerns about recent dam failures in other countries.

"While we were confident in our original analysis of the PolyMet tailings dam, we have carefully examined the requests for reconsideration and related information about recent dam failures in other parts of the world,” Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “We understand people’s concerns with these dam failures and whether those events indicate a fundamental design issue with PolyMet’s dam. Our analysis demonstrates that there are significant differences in site conditions, engineering design, and operating requirements and we remain confident in the safety of the PolyMet tailings dam as permitted.”

PolyMet sent out a statement on Wednesday. It said, in part, “We appreciate the state’s thoughtful and conclusive decision formally denying environmental groups’ request for reconsideration of these permits,” said Jon Cherry, president and CEO. He said the permits
were issued after a comprehensive and lengthy environmental review and permitting process that involved considerable public involvement and, in the case of the dam safety permit, independent review by outside experts.

PolyMet plans on mining copper and nickel near Babbitt, and processing the metals at the old LTV site in Hoyt Lakes. That's where the tailings basin will be.

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