Schafer: PolyMet mine report has a giant hole in it

  • Article by: LEE SCHAFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 7, 2013 - 5:19 PM

Mark Twain’s explanation that “a mine is just a hole in the ground with a liar standing next to it” is a quote so brilliant and so often repeated that it’s a shame he may never have said it.

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ebenezerDec. 7, 13 6:49 PM

Thank you, Lee. My biggest concern is the financial issue you discuss, and the possible extent of environmental degradation, potential public health issues, and cleanup/containment/management costs. The fact there is so little detailed attention paid to the methodology used in addressing these questions in the report is very concerting. As a businessman who owns my own companies, and sits on the boards of a number of others, I know determining the present value, on a year-to-year basis, for appropriately determined mitigation costs is not that difficult. Lack of detail and methodologies is simply evident to me of a desire to inappropriately address these issues. In a case like this particular one, it is clear evidence of a desire to minimize the projected expense to avoid full accountability.

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supervon2Dec. 7, 13 9:34 PM

The main fact is that private monitoring and reclamation has proven that it can do the same job for less then half of the government performing the same job. And, do a better job. The Polymet estimates are spot on.

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luzhishenDec. 7, 1310:42 PM

I am not an environmentalist and I think mines can be a reasonable way to extract natural resources - but this looks like a disaster waiting to happen. For half the yearly price of the cleanup you could give more jobs to the folks in the area.

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ruphinaDec. 7, 1311:14 PM

It is almost comical when they make statements like "Polymet has to show it's work", right after David Chambers just inflates the cost of the treatment from $1M a year by pulling $10M a year out of his...... the air. Maybe the greenies should have to show their work. Bill G.

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Rob7304Dec. 8, 13 2:23 AM

The commenters against mining, I'm just wondering where they think all the resources that they use, like gold, silver, copper, coal, etc, where did that come from? Must everything be done overseas? It seems that many Minnesotans only favor a hole in the ground to build a foundation for a new sports stadium. How is that working out? I will tell you how. Countless hundreds if not thousands of Minnesotans have had to find work in ND to earn decent pay. There is a new gold mine opening up just across the border form MN In Ontario. Why can Canada do this and we can't?

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davehougDec. 8, 13 7:24 AM

As a fourth-grade math teacher might say, PolyMet can’t just write down the answer. It has to show its work. “I don’t think it’s a bad place to mine,” Chambers said of the PolyMet site. “But if you are going to do it, you need to do it right.” = = = no comment needed.

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voner26Dec. 8, 13 8:34 AM

Anybody can crunch the numbers like a 4th grade math teacher if they don't have to prove their work, so why not require the greenies the same responsibility of showing their work instead of just spouting it out as if it is gospel and the final answer. Good grief anybody can give you reasons with out facts if they are not required to show facts which so far none of them can show. Start the mining before our country becomes totally dependent on over seas minerals and further weakens our country and economy. Why don't some of those groups go over seas and try some of their philosophy or are they afraid of hanging or sitting in jail for the rest of their lives?

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rebazhinDec. 8, 1310:17 AM

Most people want PolyMet to be approved of mining copper/nickel and doing it right. I say most, because the anti-mining groups don't want mining. PERIOD! They don't care if it can be done right. That it will provide good paying jobs. That it will bring more people to NE Minnesota for those jobs. That's the problem to them. They don't want more people. But, without more people NE Minnesota does not have the tax base to survive. All the retirees who move up north for a couple months in the summer will not provide healthy communities year round.

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crackbabyDec. 8, 1310:20 AM

Problem with the MDNR's response that they will evaluate the financial issue when the permit is applied for is that the public doesn't have that information when reviewing the EIS. The EIS is where the public and decision-makers get their information and without the analysis that supports the claims of the company, there is NO way for the public or decision-makers to make well-informed decisions. It's a typical ploy by agencies and politicos and corporations to deny vital information to the public prior to a decision being made. Moreover, the idea that those of us concerned about the permanent damage Polymet will do to the BWCAW and surrounding areas have not already provided data is silly. If that's the only thing that mine proponents have to argue about, it's clear they have no facts.

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mhazzardDec. 8, 1310:46 AM

Seems like the mine has already been approved proper people have been "compromised" they don't even need a "full report" mine industry has the "destroy the environment" thing down pretty good...

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