Monday, May 16, 2016

MINING BATTLE - Minnesota Arrowhead vs Big Oil

(also a Greed File)

IMHO These big companies lie or exaggerate to just make more money no matter who or what gets hurt.

"The battle for Minnesota’s $1 trillion mining jackpot" PBS NewsHour 5/10/2016

aka Money before people or environment or Rape the Earth for more money.


SUMMARY:  Minnesota’s Arrowhead region sits atop a trove of precious metals: four billion tons of raw material like copper and nickel, a haul worth $1 trillion, mining companies say.  But local residents and activists are taking a stand against encroaching mining operations, citing the potentially disastrous environmental consequences.  Josh Buettner of Iowa Public Television reports.

JOSH BUETTNER (PBS Iowa):  Last fall, demonstrators pressured Minnesota’s Saint Louis County Board to publicly acknowledge a proposed copper-nickel sulfide mine would threaten the health of their local watershed.

WOMAN:  It’s crazy to clean the river, only to allow it to be polluted again.

MAN:  Mining is less than 1 percent of Minnesota’s economy.

JOSH BUETTNER:  Opponents allege newly unearthed sulfur-bearing rock will create acid mine drainage, diluting previous efforts to restore the Saint Louis River, a waterway once crippled by iron ore pollution.

Since 2008, applications to conduct exploratory drilling have surged in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  And Toronto, Canada-based PolyMet Mining Corporation is first in line to unlock precious metals from the Duluth complex, a vast mineral deposit in the Arrowhead of Minnesota.

Mining proponents say geologists have known about the formation for over 60 years, but new technology will allow excavation of four billion tons of raw material worth an estimated $1 trillion.

LATISHA GIETZEN, PolyMet:  It’s kind of a closed loop system.

JOSH BUETTNER:  Latisha Gietzen, director of public affairs for PolyMet, says new mining techniques and rehabilitated infrastructure will mitigate past damages.

LATISHA GIETZEN:  Because we’re using a Legacy site, we will actually be able to clean up some of the issues that are currently going on and bring modern technology to the process.

JOSH BUETTNER:  Additionally, corporate officials say any water released from their proposed NorthMet site will be treated to meet state and federal guidelines.

But, for some, the mining industry’s track record is suspect.  A well-established hub for agriculture, forestry and mining exports, the Port of Duluth sits between the contested estuary and Lake Superior.  Ships from North America’s furthest inland port traditionally transported taconite, a mineral used to make steel, to mills around the Great Lakes Rust Belt and the world.

The finite resource is mined exclusively in the state’s Mesabi Iron Range.  In the 1980s, two steel making facilities on the banks of the Saint Louis River became so polluted, they became qualified for EPA’s Superfund program.

With corporate- and taxpayer-funded cleanup continuing today, environmentalists such as Aaron Klemm fear relapse.

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