LETTER: ...there is plenty of ore for more than 20 years
I attended the showing of the documentary by Save the Boundary Waters at Vermilion Community College. It was full of testimonies from people about how much they love the B.W.C.A. and their fear of it being destroyed. I have paddled and fished in the B.W.C.A. for over 60 years and enjoy it as much as anyone. I’m genuinely grateful to be able to live in such a wonderful area. However, I’m not fearful of it being destroyed by the proposed Twin Metals underground mine.
From my experiences in the B.W.C.A. and knowledge of the direction of water flow, I’m confident that less than 10% of the watershed could possibly be affected by presumed acid mine drainage. None of the area from Basswood Falls all the way to the Gunflint could not possibly be affected. Neither could any of the area south of Crooked Lake be affected.
So now, let’s consider the amount of water in the area that people presume would be polluted by acid mine drainage.If this acid would leak into this watershed, it would be diluted by the massive amount of constant flowing water. For an example; In July of 2017, an estimated 2-3 thousand gallons of sulfuric acid was accidentally poured into Rainy River. Because of the amount of natural dilution water in the river, they could not detect any acid in the watershed. The same holds true for the water entering the B.W.C.A. from Birch Lake through White Iron,Garden,and Fall. I won’t bore you with the actual gallons per second of dilution water, just take a walk to Kawishiwi Falls to see for yourself. Remember that what you see there does not take into account the water that goes through the power plant. Now, as the water continues to move downstream there is more dilution water being added from other rivers and streams. Don’t forget about the mixing that takes place because of the rapids and falls.
Leakage of acid from dry-stacked tailings could not produce enough gallons per second to create a detectable negative impact on the watershed in the Boundary Waters.
To help relieve any fear people might still have about destroying the B.W.C.A. because of the Twin Metals proposed mine, I talked to Kevin Boerst,the Geologist at Twin Metals. He was eager to share the uniqueness of the orebody that will be mined. It’s quite different in it’s makeup from other mines.It doesn’t have some of the nasty qualities that other orebodies have. If you have questions, I would encourage you to talk to Kevin.
I also discovered that Twin Metals will be collecting what sulfur thy can and then selling it as a commodity. This would mean that their tailings will be non-reactive, being unable to produce damaging sulfuric acid.
Twin Metals has also done some extensive and expensive drilling to locate underground water. They have discovered that the mine will basically be a dry mine. This should relieve the fear of pollution from underground sources.
There is a false narrative being spread that the mine will only last for about 20 years. The fact is that the state only gives permits for 25 years. New permits can be given to extend the life of the mine when needed. There is plenty of ore for more than 20 years.
Twin Metals will create 700 full time jobs and 1400 spin-off jobs. I have yet to figure out how more people with more money in their pockets can hurt businesses as some seem to think. I think it’s a shame people are being scared by all the misinformation out there so that they want to stop a process of permitting before it has a chance to begin. At times I think this scare tactic is being used because there are people that just don’t want more people around. These are selfish motives.
Let’s let the permitting process proceed and look at all the facts when they appear before scaring people into thinking that the Boundary Waters will be destroyed.
See you on the sky blue water this summer,
Chris Norman, Ely