Minnesota court rules against permits for new mine

Minnesota court rules against permits for new mine
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A Minnesota appeals court ruled on Monday against two permits issued by the state allowing a mining company to construct a copper-nickel mine in the northeastern part of the state.

The Washington Post reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected two permits for the PolyMet Mining Corporation issued by the state's Department of Natural Resources, finding that the state did not enter a proper review period to consider environmental damage and failed to set a fixed term on the permit.

Environmentalists hailed the ruling, while PolyMet officials reportedly said they may take the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The company acquired the land for the mine, planned for construction between Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes, in a land swap with the Trump administration in 2018.

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PolyMet is still working to secure $1 billion in funding for the mine's construction while it fights legal challenges from environmentalists who argue that waste drainage could pose a significant environmental threat to protected lands around the site.

Paula Maccabee, an attorney representing the environmental group WaterLegacy, told the Post that the review process would allow the state to review facts about the mine's construction “in an open and transparent process for everyone to see. That means PolyMet’s toxic environmental threats will finally get the scrutiny they deserve.”

Monday's ruling, she added, was “an absolutely enormous victory.”

PolyMet officials told the Post in response that the company was "confident that we can produce these high-demand metals responsibly, with Minnesota workers, and in compliance with all applicable regulations."