Last year was, by far, one of the most exciting years I’ve experienced in my eight years at Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM). In the spring, we celebrated the Federal Bureau of Land Management’s renewal of our mineral leases covering one of the world’s largest untapped deposits of copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum group metals – including the area where TMM is proposing its underground mine a few miles southeast of Ely.
In July we announced that we will use the environmentally friendly dry stack tailings management technology for our project, eliminating the need for a storage pond and dam associated with conventional tailings facilities.
We made this decision based on voices we heard in our communities and because it’s the right technology for our project.
And then in August we signed a Project Labor Agreement with the Iron Range Building and Construction Trades Council, which marked our formal commitment to hire union workers to build our mine. This will bring several million hours of union-scale wages to men and women in our region.
Finally, we capped off the year by submitting our mine plan to state and federal regulators for review, a milestone that marks more than a decade of engineering, hydrogeological, environmental and engagement work. Over that time we evaluated dozens of project configurations and technologies to maximize environmental protection.
What a year indeed.
And this year, we are celebrating our 10-year anniversary as a company. Although a lot of hard work has gone into developing a world-class mine project, we still have years of work ahead before we earn our construction permits.
But we’re looking forward to the process of making our case to federal, tribal and state governments, and the public, through scoping and environmental review.
We’re subject to review under both the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Multiple federal and state agencies will be involved in reviewing our project and the public will have many opportunities to weigh in as well. We hope you’ll join in on that process when those opportunities arise.
In the meantime, you can keep in touch with Twin Metals in a variety of ways. Finding us on social media (@TwinMetalsMN) or signing up for our newsletter at www.twin-metals.com are two easy ways to get updates, check out our involvement in local events and learn more about the TMM project.
We’re proud to be part of the communities of northeast Minnesota. We’re deeply engaged here and will continue to be as we work toward building a 21st century mine that will bring benefits to the region for a very long time.
Dean DeBeltz is the Director, Safety and Operations for Twin Metals Minnesota.