Public Meetings For PolyMet Permit to Mine Conclude In Duluth

The first meeting was held on Wednesday, Feb. 7 in Aurora.

DULUTH, Minn.- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are hosting the final public meeting  in Duluth surrounding the proposed PolyMet project.

At stake are the permits needed for PolyMet’s proposed copper-nickel mine near Babbitt.

PolyMet meetings continue in the Northland and today at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC), hundreds are expected to voice their opinions on the NorthMet mining project.

Guests started speaking to technical staff and asking questions earlier today.

Tonight there will likely be more people at the meeting hoping for a chance to speak than the three hour time frame will allow.

Speakers have three minutes to share their thoughts.

“Because of the high level of interest and public engagement there’s been throughout the history of this project, well for DNR, a public comment period and meetings are discretionary for a permit to mine,” said DNR Assistant Commissioner Barb Naramore. “we thought it was certainly appropriate in this instance.”

Jim Saufferer is hoping for a chance to be heard.

He says he supports precious metal mining because there is a need for it.

The military having safe equipment is a priority for him.

“We don’t want to have to rely on materials coming from the other countries from foreign lands when we have it right here under our feet,” said Saufferer. “We should be harvesting it and using it.”

But many others oppose the project because of environmental concerns.

The DNR is accepting comments about the proposal until March 6.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will take comments until March 16.

Once the public comment periods are complete the next step would be the decision to issue or deny the necessary permits.

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