Mining Truth researches and reports on issues related to sulfide mining, from employment potential to water quality impacts. All reports include only credible information and cite reputable third-party sources.
Our first report, issued in May 2012, seeks to provide the most well-documented answers to 17 of the most important questions about this issue. It also contains links to nearly every important study or report available, and is a terrific resource for people looking to do their own digging.
An examination of mines similar to those proposed in northern Minnesota reveals the projects rarely create the positive economic impacts the companies promise. Instead, such projects often cause unstable workforces and depress the overall employment landscape where they are located, and the number of jobs created do not often match predictions.
How Corporations Evade Liability for Pollution at Closed Mines
The mining industry has a record of abandoning mines that are no longer profitable and leaving local communities with the responsibility for environmental clean-up. The result is either ongoing environmental contamination, with community-wide environmental and economic impacts, or a shift of financial burden from the companies to the public to clean up mining pollution.
Minnesota law requires that sulfide mines be “maintenance free” at closure. This means that a mine site cannot be an ongoing source of pollution when it is closed. But the waste rock generated by sulfide mining is the source of dangerous pollution that will, by at least one mining company’s own acknowledgement, remain toxic for thousands of years. Persistent pollutants at sulfide mining sites will almost certainly require some sort of maintenance into perpetuity.
The Flambeau Mine was an open-pit copper-gold-silver mine located near Ladysmith, Wisconsin that was permitted in January 1991 and began production in 1993. It operated for four years, ceasing in 1997. The mine operated on the shores of the Flambeau River, a popular recreation river and one that provides habitat for a variety of aquatic and wildlife species, including muskellunge, bald eagles and osprey.