The Latest: Environmentalists denounce permits for PolyMet

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2016, file photo, the closed LTV Steel taconite plant is abandoned near Hoyt Lakes, Minn. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, it has issued permits to Poly Met Mining Inc. for a planned copper-nickel mine at the site. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ decision to issue permits for a proposed copper-nickel mine (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

Environmental groups are criticizing a decision by Minnesota regulators to approve permits for a long-planned copper-nickel mine they fear could someday pollute waters including Lake Superior.

Opponents contend the open-pit mine could pollute pristine waters and destroy habitat for gray wolves and Canada lynx. The project would be located near tributaries feeding the St. Louis River, which flows into Lake Superior.

Duluth for Clean Water says the proposed mine “would create permanent, toxic pollution” in the headwaters of the big lake.

PolyMet CEO Jon Cherry says “responsibly developing these strategic minerals” while protecting Minnesota’s natural resources is the company’s “top priority.”

Republican legislative leaders hailed the decision, saying it will create good-paying jobs in northeastern Minnesota and boost the state’s economy.

The project still needs permits from other agencies, and likely faces court challenges.

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12:35 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued permits for a planned copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

The agency said Thursday it has issued permits to Poly Met Mining Inc. for the company’s proposed NorthMet mining project. The project still requires water and air quality permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr says “No project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated.”

Based on the DNR’s review, Landwehr says the agency is confident that the project can be built and operated in compliance with Minnesota’s environmental standards.

Environmentalists have opposed the mine for fear it could pollute pristine waters.

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12:05 p.m.

Minnesota officials are set to announce whether they are granting permits for a planned copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will announce its decision Thursday on permits sought for the planned PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

Environmentalists have opposed the mine for fear it could pollute pristine waters.

PolyMet says it can operate the proposed mine near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt without harming the environment while creating hundreds of badly needed jobs on Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Paula Maccabee, an attorney for environmental group WaterLegacy, said environmentalists will likely appeal if permits are granted.

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