Officials gather to discuss controversial mining operation

Environmentalists, mining engineers, and state regulators gathered Tuesday to talk about plans for a controversial non-ferrous mining operation in northern Minnesota.

The chief concern is the potential for sulfuric acid pollution from the rock where the minerals are found.

The DNR is expected soon to release its draft Environmental Impact Statement of the proposed copper-nickel mine.

Meeting moderator Ron Nargang said that review may answer some of the many questions asked by environmentalists.

"I think everybody in this room is hoping that's going to happen and there'll be huge disappointment if it doesn't," Nargang said. "It'll probably raise a whole series of additional questions as well. If past experience with [impact statements] on a variety of issues is a good example to look at, there'll be more questions raised."

The DNR has been working on the environmental study for three years.

The session was organized by the Minnesota Environmental Initiative, a non-profit group that tries to build consensus on environmental issues.

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