The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced on Wednesday 21 Jun 2023 that they have received proposal for Tamarack Nickel Mine project. Tamarack is a nickel mining project that is entering the feasibility study phase. The project is located in the US state of Minnesota.
According to DNR, Tamarack Nickel Mine project would involve the construction of an underground mine and supporting facilities approximately 1.5 miles north of Tamarack.
DNR says, if approved, the project will cover an area of 80 acres, including a mine access gate, temporary ore and dyke storage, and water collection and treatment facilities.
“We understand that Minnesota residents have very different views about the proposed project and nonferrous mining in general. “However, DNR must base its decisions on facts and legislation,” said Katie Smith, director of DNR’s Department of Ecology and Water Resources. “I want to reassure all Minnesota residents that DNR is committed to conducting a rigorous and transparent review and neutral project based on science and applicable state law.”
One group that has raised concerns is the Ojibwe-based Mille Lacs Band, which has several communities near the proposed site.
“The stakes are high; the proposed mine would be just 2.1km from our communities and could impact our eternal home and our vital environmental and cultural assets,” said Melanie Benjamin, Managing Director. The band supports the transition to a green economy. But in a way that does no further harm.”
Local Tamarack owners are also concerned about sulfuric acid leaking from the mine into the pristine streams. But Talon said the nickel is processed out of state and the underground mine poses few environmental risks.
The Department of Energy has already awarded a $114 million grant for a project to build an ore processing facility in North Dakota. This is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to increase domestic production of nickel, lithium and other metals needed for electric vehicles and to combat climate change.
In its proposal, Talon Metals LLC says construction is expected to begin in 2026, with production scheduled to begin a year later. The project is expected to have an operating life of approximately 10 years. The state is expected to add more than 300 jobs, and the company has already secured a nickel supply deal with Tesla.
The proposal will first undergo a lengthy environmental review process before finally being granted permits.
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