Minnesota’s permit for Northshore mine expansion riles tribes, environmental groups

Northshore Mining Company wants to enlarge its 12-mile-long taconite pit near Babbitt into and area that contains sulfur-bearing rock, the same type of rock that would yield copper, nickel and precious metals for the proposed PolyMet mine just a few miles to the south. Environmental officials at the Fond du Lac and Grand Portage bands pointed out that the permit does not set specific limits for sulfate, mercury, copper, nickel, zinc, or cobalt in water leaving the mine site — metals that often leach from sulfur-bearing rock when it is exposed to water. Instead, the permit requires the company to monitor the water it discharges into the environment.

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