Category Archives: Mining

hardrock mining sulfide copper-nickel

Governor Dayton Voices Strong Opposition to Mining Near BWCA

daytonletterblogOn March 7, Governor Mark Dayton released a letter he sent to Twin Metals Minnesota, owned by international mining company Antofagasta, about the need to protect the Boundary Waters. The letter outlines his “grave concerns” about Twin Metals’ proposed massive sulfide-ore mining operation in the Boundary Waters Wilderness watershed.

“… my concern is for the inherent risks associated with any mining operation in close proximity to the BWCAW,” says Governor Dayton. “… I have an obligation to ensure [the Boundary Waters] is not diminished in any way. Its uniqueness and fragility require that we exercise special care when we evaluate significant land use changes in the area, and I am unwilling to take risks with that Minnesota environmental icon.”

In the letter, Dayton calls the Boundary Waters a “crown jewel in Minnesota and a national treasure.” The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters has been working tirelessly to help decision makers like Governor Dayton recognize that America’s most visited wilderness is not the place for what the EPA calls the most toxic industry in America and take action to ensure its protection for future generations.

“The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a national treasure. It is too special to put at risk,” said Becky Rom, National Campaign Chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, in response to the Governor’s letter. “This is a clear signal that the lands near the Boundary Waters Wilderness should be off limits to sulfide-ore mining. I’d like to thank the Governor for his strong leadership on this issue.”

The Governor has also reached out to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). “I apprised the Director of my strong opposition to mining in close proximity to the BWCAW,” he says in his letter. “I was informed that the BLM is in the process of making a determination pertaining to the renewal of Twin Metals’ federal lease holdings. I believe that the BLM decision will offer further guidance on the future of mining in the area.”

Let’s thank Governor Dayton for his leadership and urge him to do everything in his powers to support permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Wilderness watershed.

Join us for a presentation about Sulfide Mining at St. Catherine’s University on April 7th.

Sulfide mining in Minnesota – The right choice?
Worth it? Find out. Take action!

Becky Rom and Mike Clark talk about sulfide mining in the boundary waters.

Download the St. Catherine University Flier to learn more about the event.

When: Monday, April 7, 7-9 PM
Where: St. Catherine University
Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium, Whitby Hall

The event is free and open to the public.

  • Free parking in O’Shaughnessy Event Parking Lot
  • Refreshments provided
  • Local environmental groups will be on hand to help you get involved!

NMW submitted 157 pages of comments on the SDEIS for the NorthMet Mining Project

Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

On March 13th NMW submitted 157 pages of comments on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange. This comprehensive document outlines many flaws and deficiencies in the NorthMet Mining Project. We would like to thank  Jane Reyer, Mark Fink, Doug Wolf, and Ryan Talbott for preparing this comprehensive document along with the thousands of other citizens who submitted comments about the sulfide ore mining that Polymet is proposing.

Below is an except from the comment and a link to the 157 page document.

The SDEIS Does Not Cover a Number of Significant Impacts, and Bases Many of its Predictions on Faulty Information or Analysis

The NorthMet Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) omits essential information about the very issues that are most important to Minnesota’s citizens, and to informed agency decision-making. Information on mercury discharge to rivers, potential water quality standard violations, and the impacts on water quality if water collection and treatment systems end prematurely, are all missing from the document. In fact, the SDEIS seems to systematically omit any information that might lead a reader to question whether legal standards will be met. These omissions result in an SDEIS that is fatally flawed.

NorthMet SDEIS Comment
NorthMet SDEIS Comment Cover Letter

Ely area Business Owners and Residents post their stories on the American Rivers Blog

Someone fishing from shore on a lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area WildernessNine Ely area residents have written pieces for the American Rivers blog over the past few months. Below are are summaries of each article with links to full articles. American Rivers classified the Kawishiwi River as one of America’s 10 most endangered river for 2013 because of the environmental threats associated with the proposed Twin Metals sulfide ore mine.

Sustainable Ely…Up, Running, and Making an Impact

By Jerritt Johnston, Sustainable Ely, October 15th, 2013 | Most Endangered RiversWater Pollution

This is a guest blog by Jerritt Johnston of Sustainable Ely. © Sustainable Ely Urge President Obama, Congress, and Minnesota’s Governor Dayton to protect the Boundary Waters and oppose the massive Twin Metals Minnesota Mine. This summer, Northeast… Read more »

Survey Says… Don’t Mine the Boundary Waters!

By Jessie Thomas-Blate, Coordinator, Most Endangered Rivers, September 26th, 2013 | Most Endangered RiversWater PollutionWater Supply

Let President Obama, Governor Dayton, and Congress know that you oppose harmful mining on the Boundary Waters! | © Jim Brandenburg Earlier this year, American Rivers highlighted concerns over introducing sulfide mines to the Boundary Waters region… Read more »

Reflections On Preserving Special Places

By Jaime Pinkham, Vice President of Native Nations at the Bush Foundation, and a member of the American Rivers Board, June 13, 2013 | Most Endangered RiversWater Pollution

It was a rainy day, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of over 60 people who paddled the South Kawishiwi River near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).  This pristine river is at the heart of a vibrant resort, camping, boating, and canoeing area.  Paddlers were protesting a proposed huge sulfide-ore mine that will likely pollute the river and the nearby BWCAW with toxic acid mine drainage and heavy metals… Read More

Health Concerns Over Mining in Minnesota

By Jessie Thomas-Blate, Coordinator, Most Endangered Rivers, June 6, 2013 | Most Endangered RiversWater Pollution

Our waters are not all that is at stake in the campaign to protect the Kawishiwi River and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The health of our children also depends on our success. In Minnesota’s labyrinth of wetlands, streams, rivers, and lakes, contamination spreads easily through the faulted bedrock.  Read More

Love at First Sight

By Jessie Thomas-Blate, Coordinator, Most Endangered Rivers, May 30, 2013 | Most Endangered RiversWater Pollution

Twenty-three years ago, when I purchased my lake lot and had my cabin built by a local craftsman, I did not envision that one day I would be engaged in a David and Goliath struggle to protect the waters of this area I love.  Sometimes I say with a smile that after researching for seven years I now have the equivalent of a degree in sulfide mining.
Read More

 Listen To The River, And Then Fight For It!

By Steve & Nancy Piragis, May 16, 2013 | Most Endangered RiversWater Pollution

Such is the mood and the temperament of the Kawishiwi River winding its way thru the heart of America’s canoe wilderness, the Boundary Waters of Minnesota.  How could a wilderness river be threatened when it has survived so pure for twelve thousand years since its birth under glacial ice? Read More

 A Miner’s Take on Mining the Boundary Waters

By Bob Tammen, May 8, 2013 | Most Endangered RiversWater Pollution

My wife, Pat, and I stopped by the South Kawishiwi River last week.  The river current is starting to take out the ice in the narrows, and in a few days we’ll have a canoe in the water again.

We see evidence of exploratory drilling for copper-nickel mines, but spring load limits are on some of the roads so we won’t see the big rigs moving for a few days.  So far, the drilling has confirmed that the Duluth Complex is a low grade ore body in a high grade environment— Superior National Forest.  Read More

Protecting Special Places Is Important For Local Businesses

By Steve and Jane Koschak, River Point Resort, May 1, 2013 | Most Endangered RiversWater Pollution

The resort lies across the river from the Twin Metals sulfide metal mining exploration area, which caused the Boundary Waters to be declared one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2013.  Visitors do not come here to listen to the drone of drills and heavy equipment going on across the lake in an area considered “ground zero” for sulfide mining exploration.  Read More

 Sulfuric Acid Can Really Ruin a Vacation

By Paul Schurke,  April 24, 2013 | Most Endangered RiversWater Pollution

Many of us fondly remember the children’s book Paddle to the Sea, in which a native boy carves a toy model of an Indian in a canoe and sets it free to travel from Lake Nipigon through Lake Superior to the St. Lawrence Seaway.  I was captivated by the adventures along the way – wild animals, sawmills, ship’s locks, forest fires, shipwrecks – but the story was also my introduction to the concept of watersheds.  Read More