Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota is calling for the Biden administration to resume a study that could possibly affect the proposed Twin Metals Mine. Last week, the senator sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, asking them to continue with a study on the safety of mining copper-nickel-sulfide ore in the Rainy River Watershed, which includes the site of the proposed Twin Metals Mine as well as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park (BWCAW).
The study was commenced under the Obama administration but terminated under the Trump administration. It would not affect the planned PolyMet mine or iron ore mining, which are located in another watershed.
In the letter, Smith stated that mining was an important tradition in the northeastern parts of Minnesota, a tradion that was a source of employment; the letter also acknowledged BWCAW is an irreplaceable and fragile source. The senator noted that the decisionmaking process concerning the proposed withdrawal must be unbiased, complete and through.
Smith stated that the study process, which commenced back in 2017, was to have taken two years, adding that it would now be accomplished in less time if it was restarted because it had already begun.
The letter got a swift response from supporters of copper mining, which include two Republican state lawmakers who referred to the letter as anti-mining.
In a news release, the chair of the Senate Mining and Forestry Committee, Sen. Justin Eichorn, stated that the mines found in north Minnesota already went through some of the strictest environmental regulatory standards in the world, which is why he was against adding another layer of red rape for political purposes. In another news release, Rep. Spencer Igo claimed that the senator was playing politics with the jobs and families in the region, despite her noting that mining was an important tradition in the state.
Also in response to Smith’s letter was Twin Metals’ statement, which asserted that its proposed mine was already undergoing environmental reviews, both at the federal and state levels. The company pointed to an Environmental Impact Statement that had been issued in 2012 by the U.S. Forest Service stated that any additional possible effects should be evaluated as part of a specific mining proposal.
In its news release, Twin Metals stated that requiring a nonspecific and additional study be conducted when there already exists a data-informed and detailed proposal in place for the company’s mine not only undermined the regulatory system but also trust in science. Twin Metals plans to employ more than 750 individuals if the mine is constructed.
When the Rainy River Watershed copper mining project finally kicks off, the company undertaking the project is likely to create value for its shareholders in a manner akin to what Excellon Resources Inc. (TSX: EXN) (NYSE American: EXN) (FSE: E4X2) is doing through its pursuit of gold and silver.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Excellon Resources Inc. (TSX: EXN) (NYSE American: EXN) (FSE: E4X2) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/EXN
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