...there are no shortcuts to opening a mine

Editor:
Building on our commitment to sharing information about the Twin Metals Project with the public as details become more certain, we recently released new project information. As a part of this effort, I had the opportunity to meet with a number of people in our community who are interested and engaged in the future of our project. The conversations were productive and were based on maintaining open lines of communication to provide accurate information about our project as it becomes available. In the spirit of these meetings, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide some facts about our project.
Many in the area have likely heard that our federal mineral leases were recently reinstated. That isn’t to be confused with an approval to start mining or even lease renewal. It is, however, an important step in the lease renewal process for leases we’ve held in good standing since 1966.
These leases have been twice renewed without controversy after environmental review under federal law by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service. Both agencies found that the leases posed no risk to the environment.
The reinstatement of our leases corrects a legal error and allows the renewal process, under the oversight of these federal agencies, to move forward.
There are no shortcuts to opening a mine! There is a well-established regulatory process in place for all phases of mining from exploration to construction, and operations through closure. Guiding all aspects of the Twin Metals project are state and federal agencies tasked with ensuring our project meets or exceeds federal guidelines. If we can’t meet the standards, we won’t be allowed to move forward.
To ensure we design a mine that meets or exceeds standards and respects the area we all love, we’ve been conducting environmental studies for more than seven years and are continuing these efforts leading up to our formal project submittal in the next 18 months.
Once we submit a formal plan, the rigorous multi-year environmental impact statement (EIS) process officially gets underway. The value of this process is in the wide spectrum of stakeholders engaged to seek feedback, and ultimately strengthen our project proposal.
State and federal agencies will review site-specific data, ask questions and request additional information. The public will have multiple opportunities to provide input on the same themes, all with the goal of creating a project that demonstrates Twin Metals Minnesota will be a responsible addition to the northeastern Minnesota community.
We respect the regulatory process, particularly the opportunity for thoughtful feedback from our community to help improve the project.
The Twin Metals project offers a tremendous opportunity for the region, including 650 direct jobs and 1,300 jobs in other industries. There will be other indirect economic benefits through taxes and royalties that benefit our schools and future generations.
The opportunity to have a role in the strong economic future of the region is not a role we take lightly. There is a responsibility that accompanies this opportunity. We recognize safety and environmental stewardship as core values and strive to be a leader in protecting Minnesota’s wilderness, natural environment, and recreational and cultural resources.
Our commitment is matched by today’s environmental regulations that tightly control how mines are designed, operated and eventually closed. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other state and federal agencies will enforce regulations protecting water, soil, animals and air.
At the end of the day, we’re not trying to look for shortcuts. We’re going through the process as is outlined by state and federal law.
Our company and employees are tremendously honored and thankful to call this area home.
We welcome anyone interested in learning more about what we hope our future holds to visit our website or stop by the Ely office for a chat.
We are always open to productive dialogue to help understand and resolve concerns.
Dean DeBeltz
Director of Operations and Safety
Twin Metals Minnesota