MN House hearing on non-ferrous mining today

St. Paul, Minnesota - State Capitol

Today at 2:45 p.m., the House Committee on Mining and Outdoor Recreation will hold an “informational hearing” on non-ferrous mining.

When Republicans took over the State House after the 2014 election, some questioned the name and unusual structure of this committee. As I wrote, it appeared designed to serve the specific political aims of putting Republicans and pro-mining Range DFLers on one committee to green light general pro-mining sentiments and force votes scaling back environmental legislation despite little chance of actually changing state law that way. Further, the major concerns for new mining projects in Minnesota right now are the conclusion of an environmental review process already well underway, the resulting legal challenges, and the massive financing companies like PolyMet will need to actually begin mining.

There was some news on that front this week, as PolyMet announced it would be borrowing about $30 million from its chief financial partner Glencore to continue project development in 2015. That money is only a small part of what’s necessary to build a mine, but it further solidifies the industry assumption that Glencore will end up owning the project when it gets going.

Meantime, I expect something of a dog and pony show in the mining and outdoor recreation committee today. There could be valuable nuggets of information and intrigue, but one would have to invest a lot of time removing a significant amount of political overburden before processing the raw ore of knowledge. Also, four-wheeling.


  1. Any time you can get pro-mining DFL’ers and GOP’ers together to get Polymet up and running it is a good thing for Minnesota. Who is on the Minn Pollution Control Agency? I know they have a budget of 185M, John Stine runs it with 900 employees and its main goal is “health” of Minnesotans. I wonder if any of MPCA employees feel that a good high paying job is good for your health?

  2. Fancy Labovitz people determined direct iron mining employment at 3,975 in their study. The employment numbers really stand out next to all the swirly figures in the tables. They managed to get the numbers up to like 11,000 something when they included non-ferrous mining. That number was achieved through a mysterious tally of direct, indirect, and something called “induced” employment.

    Recently, I discovered how much of my perceptions result from a bogus construct.

  3. Porky platform provides potential push poll palaver .

  4. Was at the hearing yesterday. Your expectation pretty much confirmed.

  5. JT, any new info on permits or how close the latest study is to being completed?

  6. Tony Yarusso says

    Ken, my understanding is that the main thing right now is the DNR processing and responding to the questions posed in the public comment on the SDEIS, and that they aren’t expected to finish that until early 2016. So, not much substantial is likely to happen before then – just some discussions back-and-forth.

  7. Thank you.

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