We’re going underground again (in theory)

The Star Tribune reports on a big financing break for copper mining on the eastern Iron Range. This is not Polymet, but rather a newly formed company, (Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, if you need the name) that believes it can mine underground and produce 40,000 tons of copper a day. All this tells me is that the bar for “setting initial expectations” for Range developers has been raised to astronomical levels. Perhaps it will. Perhaps my novel will go platinum and spur a new, major, world religion. But $130 million in the hopper ain’t nothin.’

There are environmental concerns. The location is just a few miles from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a national treasure. Thus, this is an early chapter in a long story. Keep the BWCA clean. Mine if you can. The line between those truths does exist, but it won’t be easy to find.


  1. Growing global demand more or less dictates the world’s largest untapped precious metals deposit will be mined. I believe a way to do so without destroying the boundary waters, or any of the other waters of our area, will be found. It’s just a matter of when.

  2. Anonymous says

    $130 million already on copper mine in the “iron range”?!? the irony is thats probably 4 times more than what Essar has spent on its iron ore project since it bought it 3 years ago. aren’t there any investigative reporters left in Minnesota to write about what is really going on at that project…should at least make some interesting reading considering 60 million dollars of tax money has been handed to that project. how much has that company really spent since it bought it? how much of its own money not the taxpayer’s money.
    wake up minnesota!!

  3. It is an impressive amount of private capital. Polymet is also spending private cash, no government funding involved there either. I think there is a role for public funding in some projects, especially related to infrastructure, but Essar has way underperformed in private funding so far. That $60 million has largely been spent, building sleek, beautiful highways out in Itasca County that lead to a glorious dirt lot. Essar, like all the big companies that deal in this sort of thing, know that our sunk costs now tie us to anything they want to do. They’ve said that construction on major buildings will be begin with next spring’s construction season start. If it doesn’t there will be holy hell to raise.

    Investigative reporting? That’s only done sparingly on easy targets, if it’s done at all. And it usually isn’t.

  4. Anonymous says

    anyone know why essar failed to get private funding. its not the recession, other projects are getting the money they need. its not ore prices which at historical highs again. I have a feeling something shady is going on with this company.

    what’s up with all these deals they are doing with Iran. I dont want my tax money helping someone dealing with Iran.

    unfortunately the real hell will be 3-4 years from now. when everyone realizes how many jobs they really created for that 60million.

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