Mine proposal 3 miles from BWCAW gets Chilean cash infusion

A mining company seeking to develop a sulfide mine approximately three miles from the BWCAW has signed a $130 million deal with a Chilean mining conglomerate to advance the project. Duluth Metals’ has entered into the joint venture with Antofagasta PLC as Duluth is busy with exploratory drilling in the area around Highway 1, the Spruce Road, and Birch Lake.

A Duluth Metals drill rig in the forest near Ely, MN

A Duluth Metals drill rig in the forest near Ely, MN

The Minneapolis Star Tribune published a front-page story about the development on July 24:

A Canadian company has signed a deal with a global mining partner to develop a copper-nickel mine southeast of Ely, Minn., that would be larger than the controversial Polymet mine already planned on the Iron Range.

Unlike the Polymet operation — a surface mine that environmentalists say threatens to pollute waters that run to Lake Superior — the new mine would be underground. But its eastern edge would lie only a few miles from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, raising the possibility of any pollution quickly reaching the BWCA.

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