DNR Opens 30-Day Public Comment for Several PolyMet Draft Permits

(KQDS) – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has opened a 30-day public comment period on the draft PolyMet dam safety and public works permits.

From Sept. 15 through Oct. 16, the public can submit comments on two draft dam safety permits and a draft public waters work permit for the PolyMet Mining, Inc. NorthMet mining project.

The DNR dam safety permit program regulates the construction, operation, and maintenance of Minnesota dams to protect public health, safety, and welfare.

One draft dam safety permit covers the proposed flotation tailings basin, which would receive tailings, a mixture of finely ground waste rock and water, after the commercially recoverable copper, nickel, and other elements are removed. This proposed basin would be on the site of the existing tailings basin of the historic LTV iron ore mine.

The second draft dam safety permit covers the proposed hydrometallurgical residue facility, which would receive the residue, mostly gypsum, generated from a process that would extract additional precious metals beyond what the primary facility is able to.

Permits were initially submitted by PolyMet in July 2016 and since then, the DNR considered input from mining engineers and state, local, and tribal government technical experts.

In addition to these two drafted dam safety permits, a drafted public waters work permit is also up for comment. This public waters work permit is required for proposed projects that affect the course, current, or cross-section of public waters.

PolyMet’s draft public waters permit is for a culvert extension to widen Dunka Road, the connecting road between the proposed plant site and mine site. This would extend the culvert on Unnamed Creek, which is a tributary to Wyman Creek, a public water.

Written comments may be submitted via email or by mail no later than Oct. 16 to:

NorthMetPermitting.DNR@state.mn.us

Or by mail:

MN Department of Natural Resources
ATTN: PolyMet NorthMet Project
500 Lafayette Road N, Box 45
St. Paul, MN 55155-4045

The DNR would like commenters to include the words “NorthMet Dam Safety” or “NorthMet Public Waters” in the title of their letters or emails.

For more on the project and permitting visit dnr.state.mn.us/polymet

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