Regarding the Community Voices piece “Mount Polley and PolyMet: What happened in Canada must not happen here“:
Duluth for Clean Water is using Mount Polley as a scare tactic in comparison to PolyMet’s plans in northeast Minnesota. It is the same old tactic that the anti-mining groups have been using since the outset concerning copper nickel mining in northeast Minnesota. They will find what they determine the most horrific consequence and then only give you the details that suit their narrative.
Quesnel Lake is not a toxic waste pit, as they claim. Eight days after the dam breach, a water drinking ban was lifted by the British Columbia government at the same time it also declared that the fish in Quesnel Lake were safe to eat. Now jump ahead four years and nothing has changed in that regard. The water is still safe to drink and the fish are also still safe to eat. The Indigenous communities have chosen of their own accord not to take part in the salmon fishing season even though there is no proof of contamination. The waters and fish downstream are checked repeatedly by the government to make sure that neither is contaminated.
We on the pro-mining side do not have blind faith in government agencies. If anything, we are more cautious about what they say and do. The environmental process has taken over a decade to complete and when deficiencies have been found by the government agencies PolyMet has made the required corrections to move forward in the process.
This is currently the longest environmental process in the history of Minnesota. Everyone wants to get this right — from the MPCA to PolyMet to the people who live here. The PolyMet dam will be constructed on top of a dam that has existed at the former LTV mining site for 50-plus years. New containment walls going down to bedrock will be constructed to contain seepage, which in turn will go back into the basin. The slope on LTV’s basin will only be 13 percent, where Mount Polley’s was 77 percent. This gives PolyMet’s a more stable platform, plus it is designed to handle a 20-inch catastrophic rainfall event without topping. This design is sound and will contain the discharge from the mine.
The due diligence has been done by PolyMet, Minnesota DNR, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and many others to make sure this is done right the first time. The permits are going to be issued and the mine will move forward bringing not only good paying environmentally sound jobs to northeast Minnesota but benefiting all of Minnesota in the end.
Michael A. Cole is the CEO of Minnesota Miners.