DNR receives mining proposal from Talon Metals

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced it has received a proposal from Talon Metals, LLC for a new nickel mining project in Aitkin County.

According to a press release, the proposed project would be called the Tamarack Nickel Mine. It would involve construction of an underground mine and supporting facilities approximately 1.5 miles north of Tamarack, Minnesota. The DNR says the project would have an 80-acre footprint on the surface that would include an access portal to the underground mine, temporary storage for ore and waste rock, and facilities to collect and treat water.

Talon Metals says it would mine ore-bearing rock containing nickel and other precious metals at depths of approximately 500-2,000 feet below the surface. The mined rock would be transported by rail to a processing facility in Mercer County, North Dakota. Talon Metals says disposal of waste tailings would also occur at the Mercer County facility.

Per the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act, the proposed Project requires preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), with the DNR as the designated responsible governmental unit.

“We understand that Minnesotans have widely differing perspectives regarding this proposed project and nonferrous mining more broadly. The DNR, however, must base its decisions on the facts and the law,” Katie Smith, director of the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division said in a release. “I want to assure all Minnesotans that the DNR is committed to a rigorous, transparent, and neutral review of the project, based on science and applicable state law.”

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The DNR will review Talon Metals’ submittal to assess whether the basic information is present to begin scoping, the first phase of the EIS process.

  • The purpose of scoping is to identify:
  • the potentially significant environmental and socioeconomic issues requiring detailed analysis in the EIS,
  • reasonable Project alternatives to be evaluated in the EIS, and
  • potential environmental mitigation options to address Project impacts.

The DNR launched a webpage for the proposed Tamarack Nickel Mine (mndnr.gov/input/environmentalreview/tamarack-nickel-project.html).