PolyMet receives final permit for copper nickel mine project

HOYT LAKES, MN – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued an individual permit to PolyMet Mining Inc. for its NorthMet project.

This is the final permit needed for the project to move forward in Hoyt Lakes.

The permit authorizes the discharge of dredged and fill material into 901 acres, and indirect impacts to 27 acres, of waters of the United States in association with the construction and development of the NorthMet mine.

“This has been a very carefully weighed decision,” Col. Sam Calkins said, commander of the St Paul District. “This Record of Decision culminates a long, complex and thorough process. Our regulatory staff have worked extensively with the federal and state resources agencies, federally recognized Tribes, environmental organizations and the applicant. We are confident that we have identified an appropriately balanced alternative and proffered a permit that will allow access to an important mineral resource, while maximizing protection to natural resources including wetlands.”

The issuance of the federal wetlands permit follows Minnesota regulators’ issuance late last
year of the Permit to Mine, dam safety, water appropriations, water and air quality, and public
waters work permits; representing a total of 18 state and federal permits and approvals.

PolyMet also announced Friday it entered into an extension agreement with Glencore AG over $243M in debt.

The agreement calls for Glencore to extend the maturity date of the debt to provide PolyMet time to prepare for and complete a rights offering by June 30, 2019, to raise sufficient funds to repay the outstanding debt.

“While our immediate goal is to address the Glencore debt, we are proud to be the first mining
company to be fully permitted to responsibly build and operate a copper-nickel-precious metals
mine within the world-class Duluth Complex,” said Jon Cherry, president and CEO. “Our
employees, shareholders, Iron Rangers, labor and business partners all share in this historic
achievement. They have steadfastly believed in, worked tirelessly toward and provided
unwavering support for this project for so long.”

Jobs for Minnesotans, which supports the project, said the decision marks a major achievement for a new era of mining.

“Jobs for Minnesotans commends the USACE, along with all involved state and federal regulatory agencies, for its rigorous process and thorough review of the NorthMet Project over the last decade. The project and its supporters can now put into action what we’ve been saying all along – that it’s possible to mine for these important metals while also protecting the environment,” the organization said in a statement.

The project is expected to create 360 jobs and generate an estimated $515 million annually.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Emma Rechenberg

Emma Rechenberg

Morning Anchor

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