mining truth

PolyMet’s Hockey Tournament TV Ad

By JT Haines, March 4, 2015

Admittedly PolyMet is getting a lot of free airtime from Newspeak Review today, but for your easy reference (by way of KSTC45 and a camera phone), here is PolyMet’s TV ad which is playing during the Minnesota State High School Hockey tournament:


What does it take to play on a tournament team?
The same kind of commitment it takes to open Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine,
And protect what we all treasure: our woods water and wildlife.
Congratulations to all the tournament teams, from PolyMet Mining.

PolyMet’s motivation with this type of messaging during the state tournament is exceedingly clear, and objectionable given that it is currently in the process of seeking controversial mining permits in Minnesota.

For comparison, here is‘s summary of the PolyMet proposal, one of the numerous organizations in Minnesota raising important facts and questions about this company and this type of mining:

PolyMet Mining Corporation has proposed a sulfide mine called the “NorthMet Project” between Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. This project proposes to develop an open-pit mine to extract copper, nickel and other metals.

PolyMet is a junior mining company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. The company has never operated a mine before, and is backed financially by the Swiss company Glencore. Glencore has a significant financial stake in the company, and has an exclusive agreement to sell the mine’s metals on the global commodities market.

While PolyMet doesn’t have a track record to consider, Glencore does. The company was founded by Marc Rich, the financier embroiled in scandal and pardoned by President Bill Clinton. The company has been implicated in environmental disasters, labor violations, and human rights abuses around the world.

The Chairman of the Glencore board of directors is former BP CEO Tony Hayward, the man who was in charge when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused the largest oil spill in history in the Gulf of Mexico. He was made infamous for saying how he would “like his life back” while the water was being polluted and whole communities were being devastated by the spill.

In December 2013, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) published the “Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement” for PolyMet’s proposed mine. This mine plan lays out exactly what PolyMet is proposing. The public submitted over 52,000 public comments on this document, 98% of which opposed the mine as proposed.


Water is the New…Water

By JT Haines, August 7, 2013
Re-published in MinnPost August 8, 2013

NoCal and SoCal are grappling about piping water southward (LA Times), the Colorado River is “severely threatened by human overuse” (MIT), and Waukesha Wisconsin wants to draw 9 million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan because of “a depleted aquifer and rising concentrations of carcinogenic radium in the water” (Triple Pundit). These are just a few results of a brief and obviously non-comprehensive internet search regarding the ways in which our water sources may be threatened. That water is currently flowing from your faucet does not alter the basic reality that our most precious of resources is simply not unlimited nor invulnerable.

Meanwhile, in my beloved Minnesota, the foreign-owned Polymet Mining Corp wants to operate a new type of mine which will threaten the Lake Superior Watershed with toxins. According to “To date, mining companies are unable to point to a sulfide mine that has ever been developed, operated and closed without producing polluted drainage from its operations. Yet studies show that the companies and state agencies reviewing mine plans consistently predict no pollution will occur during the planning and permitting process.” (More from me on the subject here.)

Sulfide mining is not the only activity threatening our water, but it is a new and serious one, and it is as good a starting place as any for the pivot that needs to happen. Water is the new water, friends, and I’m afraid we just can’t take it for granted anymore. Whether through observation or research or even intuition, it’s time to accept that there’s a problem.


South Kawishiwi River, Photo Credit Bound Hound Joe Krekeler