ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – State regulators who issued an air quality permit three years ago for a copper-nickel mine project in northwest Minnesota have upheld their decision in a released report Monday that the mine did not provide misleading information about its plans. .
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency report is a blow to several environmental groups and the Lake Superior Chippewa Fond du Lac Band, although it does not pave the way for construction. Other important permits remain pending due to pending court cases or administrative work.
Despite this, PolyMet CEO Jon Cherry said the action on the air permit “takes us a big step closer” to building the estimated $ 1 billion mine, which he says will bring “many benefits. economic benefits to northeast Minnesota as well as a U.S. supply of metals critical to the transition to a greener economy.
PolyMet’s air license has traveled through state courts, to the Minnesota Supreme Court and back to the Court of Appeals. Earlier this year, the Court of Appeals ordered state regulators to further investigate whether the company had engaged in “sham licenses.”
Opponents had argued that PolyMet planned to build a much larger mine that would cause more pollution than stated in the air permit.
“We are disappointed that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has yet to conduct a rigorous investigation into the facts surrounding the size and scale of PolyMet’s true mining plans as shared with investors. and securities regulators, “said JT Haines, spokesperson for the Minnesota Center. for the protection of the environment.
The 21-page notice stated that if PolyMet decided to expand, it would have to go through a new authorization process, which would include public notice and comments. The agency “retains strong enforcement authority,” the report says.
PolyMet, based in Saint-Paul, is majority owned by Glencore in Switzerland.
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