There is ample reason to be skeptical about mining companies’ and promoting agencies’ promises that sulfide mining can be done without polluting the water. One can merely search the internet for "Acid Mine Drainage", and find numerous examples all over the world of environmentally devastating and costly damage.
Perhaps the worst place to disturb sulfide rock is in a water-intensive environment like northearstern Minnesota, because the acidic drainage with its leached toxic metals becomes mobile, affecting groundwater and surface water. It can persist for centuries and travel long distances from the discharge.
Yet, sulfide mining proponents continue to ignore on-the-ground evidence of failed technologies and human error. They ignore the dismal actual regulatory track-record. They tout new technologies and procedures that have not been demonstrated at scale in similar geoloegical and weather conditons.
Minnesota’s Dunka pit — decades of non-enforcement
Minnesota’s INCO test site – 36 years of unmonitored pollution
U.S. Superfund sites – broken promises cost taxpayers billions
Wisconsin’s Flambeau Mine – a "model" of modern technology fails to prevent pollution
Concerned citizens are not against job creation, nor are they necessarily anti-mining. To protect their families, their health, their quality of outdoor life, and their options for sustainable livelihood, they are asking for scientific proof – not promises – that new sulfide mining proposals will not leave the toxic legacy of acid mine drainage that is so common across the region and the country.