Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Won’t the PolyMet mine create jobs?

• PolyMet says the project will create about 360 jobs. Some of these jobs will be well paid, but it is unclear how many will be on the Iron Range or available to local workers.

• All PolyMet/Glencore jobs will be non-union jobs. Glencore, the majority owner of PolyMet, is known internationally for labor abuses as well as bribery and corruption.

• Mining creates a “boom or bust” economy. As prices changes, workers can be laid off.

Don’t we need copper for phones and renewable energy?

• Copper is infinitely recyclable. Recycling can provide the high-grade non-ferrous metals we need with less impact on the environment, less demand for fossil-fuel burning energy, and greater potential for jobs and economic development.

• As consumers, we can do a better job preserving technology. As constituents, we can ask our leaders to create incentives for recycling copper, rather than wasteful mines.

Would the PolyMet sulfide mine impact climate change?

• The PolyMet mine would destroy nearly 1,000 acres of wetlands and peatlands. According to a DNR study, destruction of 1,000 acres of peatlands is equivalent to 2 percent of Minnesota’s entire carbon footprint.

• Over a 20-year mine plan, PolyMet admits that it would produce 15.8 million tons of CO2 equivalent pollution, more than 10 million tons from burning fossil fuels.

• Comparing PolyMet’s annual impacts to a study done by the city of Duluth (including commercial, industrial, residential, transport, and waste), each year the PolyMet mine project would have about one-fourth the carbon footprint of the city of Duluth.

Would the PolyMet mine create health risks?

Has there been a health impact study?

• Sulfide mining leaches toxic metals such as lead, arsenic, and mercury into wetlands.

• In addition, sulfate released by copper-nickel mining increases mercury methylation, accumulation in the food chain, and contamination of fish. Methylmercury damages the brains of fetuses, infants, and children.

• In 2012, the Minnesota Department of Health found 1 in 10 infants in Minnesota’s Lake Superior region are already born with unsafe levels of mercury in their blood.

• Groups representing more than 30,000 Minnesota health professionals asked State agencies to do a health impact assessment for the PolyMet mine, but the agencies denied their request.

Check out our Fact Sheets for more talking points.