Mining the Boundary Waters

     According to the Friends of the Boundary Waters, "Sulfide mining has decimated water supplies, killed fish, destroyed entire landscapes, and left taxpayers holding the bag for expensive clean-up operations almost everywhere it’s been done before.  Now, the sulfide mining industry has set its sights on northeastern Minnesota, including many areas at the very edges of the Boundary Waters."  If the Friends have their way then Minnesotans will prevent the potential destruction of the famed Boundary Waters by preventing mining of the area.

     It has been said money makes the world go around and the same can probably be said for oil and precious metals.  Duluth Metals has studied Northeastern Minnesota and has become extremely interested in the potential of mining in the area.  The company was interested enough to form a 130 million dollar partnership with a Chilean Mining Company called Antofagasta.  Together they will be known as  "Twin Metals Minnesota LLC ("Twin Metals").  According to studies done Duluth Metals claims "The area known as the Duluth Complex hosts one of the world’s largest undeveloped repositories of copper, nickel and PGMs."

     The company likes Northeastern Minnesota not only for the large deposits but also for the location.  The deposit located near other mining areas with railways leading to the Great Lakes.  From  the Great Lakes the shipping opportunities are ideal and endless. 

     While mining companies may be seeing dollar signs the Friends of the Boundary Waters would like to see Stop signs.  Does Governor Pawlenty see dollar signs, question marks or Stop signs when it comes to mining near the million acres of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness? He met with the Chilean Ambassador on August 3rd to discuss the issue.

     We already have something far more precious than nickel in Northeastern Minnesota, it’s called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  Can mining beneath a lake adjacent to the Boundary Waters not cause pollution or other environmental concerns?  According to the Friends of the Boundary Waters the answer is "No." But when the potential exists to make boatloads of money you can bet this debate will go on for a long time to come.