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Time to Reconsider Risky Sulfide Mining


Chair Kanitz speaking for the petition resolution at the SCC meeting.

Protect what you love!

With the threat of copper-nickel sulfide mining looming ever closer, the Minnesota DFL Party stands strongly opposed to copper-nickel sulfide mining. We see copper-nickel sulfide mining as a serious threat to our water, to the whole environment of our region, and believe the risks associated with copper-nickel sulfide mining are too great for us to support.


The DFL Environmental Caucus supported this petition resolution at the DFL State Central Committee meeting on March 2. The resolution was brought forward by Rich Updegrove of SD7.

It failed to meet the 60% threshold needed to be adopted but did receive support from 50% of the delegates. This is much better than previous resolutions on this issue have done at past SCC meetings. Here is a recap of the some of the many reasons shared that explain why we oppose the proposed PolyMet mine.


We believe the risks associated with copper-nickel sulfide mining are far too great for us to support it. At the end of the day, all Minnesotans want the same thing. A safe place to live, work, and raise our families.


Copper-nickel sulfide mining is not safe.

Over 169 people died in the tailings basin collapse that recently occurred in Brazil. This mine dam had the SAME design, by the SAME engineer, with the SAME method of calculating the risk of failure as the one the DNR approved for PolyMet. Brazil now bans this design and has ordered all existing tailings basins upstream dams decommissioned by 2021 (MCEA Action Alert, March 1, 2019)


The financial burden to Minnesota taxpayers in too large.

The financial assurance PolyMet has agreed to does not begin to cover the known expenses the company will require to mitigate environmental damage. By year 11 of the project the MN DNR estimates $1.038 billion will be required and PolyMet will have less than $30 million in a trust fund to cover the expenses.

Also, these numbers do NOT account for the possibility of a tailings dam failure like the one that occurred in Brazil or the 2014 Mt. Polley disaster in Canada. Who will end up paying to try to clean up the heavy metals and other toxins that will poison our soil, water, and fish? We will. The taxpayers of Minnesota. (Gappa, Sternal, Thomez, Understanding the Financial Risks to Minnesota Taxpayers from the Proposed PolyMet Mine, Feb. 19, 2019)


We value healthy natural systems and Tribal Treaty rights

We value the health of natural systems so that we all can enjoy clean water, and a safe place to raise families, work, hunt, fish, and recreate. High sulfate levels created from the mines can destroy wild rice beds and cause the accumulation of mercury in fish and wildlife. We defend Tribal Treaty rights to depend on the land, water and natural resources for their subsistence, as well as for cultural and religious needs. (National Congress of American Indians Resolution #MKE-17-007)

(Photo credit to Chuck Dewey-Smith)


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Copyright © 2018 DFL Environmental Caucus  255 Plato Blvd, St Paul, MN 55107. Veda Kanitz, Chair.

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