Twin Metals decision to switch to dry stack tailings method means any sulfur/sulfide is nearly non-existent while dam failure is officially non-existent

by Bob Colombo
July 18 changed the landscape for non-ferrous mining in the Arrowhead. An innocuous sentence in our morning Facebook page simply said; “TMM to use Dry Stack Tailings.” I read it and whispered to no one, Thank you Jesus and Kelly Osborne. The importance of that sentence is huge.
World-wide there are 3,700 earthen dams in the mining industry. Chile alone has 740 dams and most of them are sitting over, or near, one of the most active earthquake faults in the world. In the last four years, I’ve have been witness to two major dam blowouts in Brazil. They were iron mines in the state of Minas Gerais and both are little more than an hour away from my home. Is it any wonder why new methods of dealing with tailings have been a hot-button issue for years? Tailings dams are basically the world’s biggest mud puddles with the consistency of wet cement.


On PolyMet: Enough of the fake news already

The claims by metro legislators and anti-mining groups about PolyMet Mining are downright fabrications. It is very disappointing that people don’t know or don’t care what our strong rules and regulations require, and that the media continues to perpetuate the misinformation. The people of the Iron Range deserve better. The people of the state of Minnesota deserve better. There is no scandal. The agencies have done their jobs. The letter of the law was followed to a “T”. Enough of the fake news already. Here are the facts:
Fact: Our DNR required PolyMet Mining to post bankruptcy proof of financial assurance (only accessible by the DNR) before they even issued PolyMet’s permit to mine. It doesn’t matter who or what the ownership looks like the resources needed to close the mine if the company went bankrupt are currently in place and only the state can release the funds.


...what a memorable day it is for me

Letter to the Editor:
A heartfelt thank you to the town of Ely, MN.
June 22-29, 2019 marked the first ever Midwest PVA Fishing Event. (PVA stands for Paralyzed Veterans of America.)
Approximately 20 paralyzed veterans, 15 of their caregivers and 21 staff volunteers made the trip to Veterans on the Lake Resort in beautiful Ely, MN for a week-long rehabilitation event.
Veterans on the Lake Resort and Britton’s Café were our main facility providers (Britton’s Café catered all of the meals), but the entire town of Ely made this a trip to remember for these veteran heroes and their caregivers.
Bonnie Jacobson at Britton’s Café raised money for our event.
Veterans on the Lake and Bonnie gathered items from local business for swag bags for all in attendance. Veterans on the Lake provided each and every veteran and caregiver with a rod /reel combination.


Overall hue of our community is a little duller now with the loss of Jim Maki

James R. Maki 1948-2019 TGO
The overall hue of our community is a little duller now. The loss of Jim Maki pales our spirit. Jim was bright and colorful and no one who encountered him would fail to be impressed.
Jim lived in Ely his entire 70 years except for three years when he served in the US Army. In the Army he became a paratroop and MP. Back in Ely after his service, Jim became a millwright and worked in the iron mining industry. An energetic and productive guy, he created The Great Outdoors shop on Sheridan Street and ran it for over 30 years. He became literally synonymous with the store and he acquired the nickname “TGO.”
In the shop, Jim delivered fishing and outdoor gear advice sprinkled with social and political commentary From his forum at the map desk, he opined with zeal and without ambiguity. It has been noted that Jim may not always have been right, but he was always sure.


...we have a special group of village volunteers.

Dear Editor:
“It takes a village” and we have a special group of village volunteers.
The “Whiteside Bloomers” have stepped up again this year to maintain the gardens at the park.
Before the garden club disbanded this small group struggled to raise funds and attract more members, have meetings and work inover 12 areas around the city.
Unwilling to fully give up on the gardens this group continues with a variety of support.
The Highway 169 entrance sign was designed and is maintained by Ely Flower & Seed.
The Highway 21 sign has been maintained for a few years by Sharon Anderson.
This year Old Truck Greenhouse donated annuals to brighten the area.
The Highway 1 sign has also been maintained the last few years by “Bloomers” and the Old Truck Greenhouse also donated annuals for that area.
Whiteside Park has two gardens maintained by this group.


Observing ther U.S. flag

Dear Editor,
I would like to use this column to remind my fellow Elyites and folks in the area of a troubling trend that myself and others have noticed of late.
As a member of the Ely Area Honor Guard, a Veteran, and other organizations, it’s been noticed that folks seem to have forgotten the proper etiquette when the American Flag is presented. This could be at a parade, funeral, or a ceremony, indoors or outside.
Below is information taken from a few different websites, they say the same things in different ways.
In a nutshell, when the flag passes stop what you’re doing, remove your headgear, stand up, pay attention, and be quiet.
I would make the argument clapping, and cheering is acceptable after the flag passes you.
Below is information taken from a few different websites, they are all same the same information, in different ways.


Community support required to inspire future generations of Army leaders

“Thank you for your service.” As a U.S. Army Soldier living in Forest Lake, I am grateful for these words, which I hear often when wearing my uniform in this community.
What many people do not understand is that I am the one who is thankful.
I am thankful for the camaraderie, the global understanding, the commitment made to me and my family, and the opportunity to dedicate every day to the people of this country.
I am thankful for the education and cost-free healthcare I receive, the worldwide experiences I have had, the technical skills I have learned, and the opportunity to be a leader in the most trusted organization in the nation.
I am thankful to be part of history. This week the Army celebrates 244 years of dedicated service. Generations of Soldiers have inspired professionalism, honorable service and a commitment to the common good. For this, I am proud to call myself a Soldier.


...copper-nickel ore is underground

Dear Editor:
We appreciate the love of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area that Alison Rosengren described in her commentary that recently appeared in the Duluth News Tribune. We like fishing and camping adventure as much as she does. Perhaps even more. As evidence, we point to the fact that we have chosen to make our lives here. We have lived on the edge of the BWCA for years.
Writing as an assignment for her college in Chicago, Ms. Rosengren fails to appreciate that real people live in the Arrowhead. We have had the opportunity to build prosperous lives here, but only a select few can build a prosperous life based on serving the visitors from Minneapolis, St. Paul, or Chicago, who only come here to vacation.


Garbage collection needs refinement

Similar to other parts of the state, Ely is looking at modifying its garbage collection system. A meeting for the public to voice concerns will be held by the city council on the matter in July.
Currently the council has a contract for all residential and commercial customers through G Men Environmental Services. They are the only company allowed to haul within the city limits.
We’ve heard some of the concerns, including the exclusivity clause which doesn’t work for some commercial customers who may need their trash hauled more often than once or twice a week. With summer upon us, we’d like to see those issues addressed just to keep the smell down to a bare minimum.
While people can haul their own garbage, for seniors and those on limited income the system doesn’t work very well. There is a monthly charge whether the garbage is hauled or not and saving up garbage, especially in the summer, is not a workable solution.


...Rep. McCollum doesn’t acknowledge that the process is being followed

Dear Editor:
Anti-mining groups and politicians rail against copper nickel mining, but never mention the six-year EIS that was already completed in 2012.
In December 2016, President Obama signed an executive order to withdraw 234,328 acres of land in the Superior National Forest from mining exploration and denied Twin Metals the renewal of their leases.
They never mention that according to the Federal Register, a study was to take ‘up to 2 years’ to determine if a 20-year ban should be placed on future mining and exploration.
When President Trump took office in January 2017, the two-year study began. It ended in 21 months with no new science to require a 20-year ban of copper nickel mining.


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