A deal between Chilean and Canadian mining companies could bring as many as 600 new jobs to northeastern Minnesota in the next decade.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty met with the Chilean ambassador to the U.S. at the governor's residence this morning. Officials from Antofagasta mining and Ontario-based Duluth Metals were also on hand.
Mara Strazdins, a spokeswoman for Duluth Metals, said the 600 job estimate is on the low end.
"We did a preliminary economic assessment and they were saying that at about a 40,000 ton per day scenario, they were looking at over 600 jobs, but that doesn't include construction or part-time work," she said. "So probably in the long run, the jobs could be quite a bit more."
Antofagasta has agreed to spend $130 million on an initial feasibility study, which is expected to take at least three years to complete. They'll also get a 40 percent share of the stake. The Chilean conglomerate also has an option to acquire another 25 percent of the property in the future.