Environmental review of proposed copper nickel mine delayed until Dec. 6

The release of a major environmental document for a proposed copper nickel mine has been delayed for two weeks because of the recent federal government shutdown.

The draft environmental impact statement for the proposed PolyMet Mining project in northeast Minnesota which was supposed to be released Nov. 22 has now been delayed until Dec. 6. The 2,000-page document has been in development for the past three and a half years.

"We've spent a lot of time on this, we want to make sure that everybody is on the same page," said Chris Niskanen, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "Our priority has always been to publish the best possible environmental review of this project that can be done."

Niskanen said the delay won't affect the project's public comment period, and public meetings will likely be held in late January.

PolyMet's mine has been welcomed by some for its economic benefits, and criticized by others concerned about potential long-term water pollution.

"This is really the first time that the public can have a full view of what this mining project will look like," Niskanen said. "We're very interested and excited for people to look at it and give us various substantial comments back on it."

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