PolyMet (MN)


Mining Minnesota (a mining trade organization promoting the PolyMet project) and its Executive Director Frank Ongaro have been called out for providing false and misleading information to Minnesota lawmakers and the public regarding the environmental performance of the Flambeau Mine (Reader Weekly, Issue # 821, December 31, 2014; cover by Bruce Woodman, Duluth, MN; duluthreader.com).




















Wisconsin’s Flambeau Mine has come and gone. Yet, it continues to be cited in various discussions, both pro and con, over the development of new mines in the Lake Superior region like the proposed PolyMet/NorthMet project.

The Flambeau Mine was a copper/gold/silver mine developed in a massive sulfide deposit near Ladysmith, Wisconsin in the 1990s. Owned and operated by Rio Tinto of London and its Kennecott subsidiary (dba Flambeau Mining Company), the mine was quite small by today’s standards.

The Flambeau open pit, at the end of mining, was 32 acres in size at the surface, and the deepest trench reached a depth of 220 feet. All of the ore extracted during the 4-year life of the mine (1993-1997) was shipped by train to Canada for processing, so THERE ARE NO TAILINGS ON SITE. The mine’s footprint was about 180 acres in size, and the project impacted less than 10 acres of wetlands.

Still, the mining industry was NOT able to keep the water clean and prevent long-term pollution problems at Wisconsin’s Flambeau Mine (“the newest and smallest copper mine in the world” AND a mine that operated under laws branded as “tough” by the industry).

So how will PolyMet Mining Corporation be able to protect public water resources at the much larger NorthMet project proposed in Minnesota?

Flambeau Plaque_Newest and Smallest Copper Mine in World