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Minn. copper mine review to be made public in Nov.

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says officials need more time to prepare an environmental impact statement on Minnesota's first proposed copper, nickel and nonferrous metals mine.

Steve Colvin, of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said the report on PolyMet's NorthMet project in northeast Minnesota will be released November 22, instead of this summer.

Colvin said it's taking longer than expected for his agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Forest Service to add comments to the 1,800-page document.

  "The three co-lead agencies really have to come to unanimous agreement on this," Colvin said. "That's where this project is a little bit different from a lot of other [environmental impact statements] we tend to do. Because we really do have to work as a team and work very hard to make sure that we're all on the same page on these sorts of decisions."

Colvin added the the agencies offered "really good comments" that had to be worked into the review.

The public comment period will begin November 25 and last at least 45 days. Colvin said there will be more than one public meeting. 

Polymet's proposed northeast Minnesota operation would include a processing site near Hoyt Lakes and a mine close to Babbitt. The company released a draft impact statement to the DNR, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Forest Service in May.   

Three years ago the Environmental Protection Agency sharply criticized the project's first environmental impact statement. But the federal agency has cooperated on the new review, which incorporates several environmental changes.