Mining Truth launches campaign to highlight financial risk from PolyMet

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Mining Truth launches campaign to highlight financial risk from PolyMet
$934 million damage deposit is needed to protect taxpayers

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA – The Mining Truth coalition launched a public information campaign this week with a goal of ensuring Minnesota taxpayers are protected as permit applications are considered for PolyMet’s proposed sulfide mine in northern Minnesota. Billboards near the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources headquarters in St. Paul and along I-35 highlight the $934 million damage deposit experts say is needed to cover cleanup costs.

“PolyMet’s own permit application says polluted water from the site will require expensive treatment for decades, if not centuries, after this proposed mine closes” said Kathryn Hoffman, Executive Director of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. “Unless Minnesota insists on a bankruptcy-proof, upfront damage deposit, taxpayers could be left with a huge cleanup bill.”

Mining expert Jim Kuipers authored the report on PolyMet’s damage deposit proposal (called “financial assurance.”) His report used the data provided by PolyMet for the cost to close the mine, and applied industry standard calculations for cost contingencies, inflation, and rate of return on investment. His conclusion was that $934 million in financial assurance would be needed to fully protect taxpayers. The Star Tribune and Duluth News Tribune covered his report in May.

PolyMet and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are currently negotiating the amount, form and timing of a damage deposit for PolyMet. In other states, bankrupt and abandoned mines have left behind pollution that will cost billions of dollars to clean up.

“Minnesota can’t afford to get this wrong,” stated Paul Austin, Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota. “Not protecting taxpayers from PolyMet’s cleanup costs would make this a risky financial deal for Minnesota.”

Mining Truth is a coalition of Conservation Minnesota, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy formed in 2012 to provide a resource for Minnesotans to get facts about how sulfide mining and its potential impacts differ from iron mining.

MORE INFO: For more information, or to set up an interview with the leaders of Mining Truth, contact Aaron Klemz (aklemz@mncenter.org, 763-788-0282) or Nate Dybvig (nate@conservationminnesota.org, 651-230-3018).