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Glencore becomes majority shareholder of PolyMet

St. Paul, MN – A Swiss mining company now owns nearly 72 percent of PolyMet, the company announced Thursday.

The preliminary results of the rights offering clears $243M in debt that PolyMet owed to Glencore.

Prior to the rights offering, Glencore made up 30 percent of Polymet’s board. It wasn’t immediately clear if or how that would change, a PolyMet spokesperson said.

PolyMet is Minnesota’s first fully permitted copper-nickel mine.

The company still needs to raise $950 million in financing for the project located near Hoyt Lakes.

“We thank all of our shareholders for their interest in and support for this project, and are grateful to those who participated in this rights offering,” said Jon Cherry, president and CEO, “The issuance of the federal wetlands permit in March, which brought the project to a fully permitted status, and clearing our balance sheet of debt with this rights offering puts us in a much stronger position to obtain construction financing for the project. We could not have achieved either one of these major milestones without Glencore’s longstanding technical and financial support.”

Thursday’s announcement is troubling news for opponents of the project.

Paula Maccabee with the group Water Legacy, says Minnesotans were deceived by the process.

“It’s troubling because Glencore isn’t on any of the PolyMet permits. Throughout this process PolyMet never disclosed a potential Glencore takeover,” Macabee said.

Citing a United Steelworkers 2015 vote naming Glencore the “2nd Worst Company” and earlier articles highlighting mining accidents and labor practices, Maccabee takes issue with Glencore over what she calls “poor business and environmental practices.”

As recently as April of this year, Reuters reported the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission was investing whether the company may have violated certain regulations through “corrupt practices”.

The final results of the rights offering, PolyMet said, are expected Friday.

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CBS 3 Duluth

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