USW Welcomes Minnesota DNR Decision to Issue Permits for Planned PolyMet Mine

Contact: John Rebrovich, (218) 744-2757

EVELETH, Minn. (Nov. 1) — The United Steelworkers union (USW) today said that it welcomed the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announcement that it had issued permits for a planned mining project in northeastern Minnesota.

After a lengthy review, the state DNR approved the permits for PolyMet Mining’s proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. The USW has represented mining workers in the state for more than 75 years.

“The members of this union have a long and proud history of mining in Minnesota, and we are excited to continue that tradition,” said Emil Ramirez, director of USW District 11, which includes Minnesota and eight other states. “We’re confident that this work can be done in a way that provides hundreds of good, community-supporting jobs to the people of this region while also safeguarding our precious natural resources.” 

In making the announcement, Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said that “no project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated.”

“The economy, the people and the communities across Minnesota depend on mining as a way of life, and we need to work together to make sure that continues in a sustainable way,” Ramirez said. “We also want our children and grandchildren to have access to clean water and unpolluted air. We believe that this project will satisfy both of those goals.

“The choice between good jobs and a clean environment is a false one – we must have both, or we will have neither,” he said.

The PolyMet project still must clear additional regulatory hurdles, including air and water quality permits from the state’s pollution control agency as well as a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, among others.

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

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