Northern Minnesota's Waters and Forests Threatened by Sulfide Mining and Industrial Expansion

Located between the North Shore of Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Arrowhead Region is Minnesota's most loved recreation area and a place that millions visit for rejuvenation. This region faces an unprecedented industrial expansion that is certain to affect the qualities that draw people here. One of the worst threats from this expansion is from the mining of sulfide ores, a particularly harmful type of mining that has not been conducted in Minnesota before. PolyMet Mining's NorthMet Mine, located between Babbitt and Hoyt Lakes, is the first of what may become many sulfide mine proposals. Found HERE

               Acid Mine Drainage, PA-DEP

What is Sulfide Mining?

Sulfide ores are ores containing heavy metals (such as copper or nickel) that are bonded to sulfur, forming sulfide minerals. When exposed to air and moisture, a chemical reaction generates sulfuric acid that can leach into the surrounding environment and cause the release of the metals into streams and lakes at levels that are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. (See Video) This phenomenon is known as Acid Mine Drainage. In a surface mine like the one proposed by PolyMet, mining leaves huge piles of waste rock and a huge pit exposed to the elements. Like the ore that has been removed, the waste rock and the pit walls contain sulfide minerals. The potential for Acid Mine Drainage and for contamination of surface and ground water by heavy metals remains for centuries, and even millennia, into the future.


Click image -   Explore Minnesota: Minerals   MN  Has  Excellent  Mineral  Potential


Fact Sheets


      (1) PolyMet       (2) Track Record

    (3) Projects        (4) MN Mining


What is the track record for Sulfide Mining?

Acid Mine Drainage has already polluted more than 12,000 miles of rivers and streams and over 180,000 acres of lakes and impoundments in the United States. According to the U.S. EPA, acid mine drainage from coal mining is the leading source of water pollution in the Mid-Atlantic States. Acid Mine Drainage from metal mines in Western states has caused some of the country's largest and most contaminated Superfund sites. Mining companies argue that modern mining methods can protect against Acid Mine Drainage, but they cannot point to a single mine that is more than a few years old that has not resulted in contamination. Because Acid Mine Drainage often takes several years to develop, recent mines that have not yet contaminated nearby waters do not provide proof that these ores can be mined safely.


Click image to see:


         State Mineral Lease Map

            Click on image to enlarge


Click on image below to see larger view of "Minnesota State Mineral Ownership" DNR



Mining Interests are exploring for Metallic Sulfide Minerals Across All Of Minnesota

MN DNR Metallic minerals lease sale

Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI)

UMD's Precambrian Research Center

Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board

PolyMet Mining

Glencore International AG (PolyMet JV)

Xstrata/ Falconbridge (Glencore acquisition)

Cleveland Cliffs, Inc.

Kennecott Exploration (Rio Tinto)

Talon Metals (Kennecott JV in MN)

Rio Tinto (Kennecott Parent)

Teck Cominco

Lehmann Exploration, Inc (Franconia)

Beaver Bay Joint Venture ("BBJV"), North Central Mineral Ventures (Franconia)

Duluth Metals (Acquired by Antofagasta)

Antofagasta (Twin Metals parent)

Twin Metals (Duluth Metals-Antofagasta JV)

Encampment Minerals, Inc.

Vermillion Gold, Inc.

AngloGold Ashanti Minnesota Inc.

Prime Meridian Resources Corp

WMC Exploration Inc (BHP Billiton)

BHP Billiton

608457 B.C. LTD

Rainy River Resources Ltd (608457 B.C. LTD)

Platinex Inc.

RENDRAG; Gardner Management Services Inc (Yawkey Minerals Management LLC)

Superior Mineral Resources LLC

Solway Resources LLC

Minerals Processing Corporation (Aquila)

RGGS Land and Minerals Ltd (PolyMet Leases)

Cardero Resource Corporation

HTX Minerals Corporation

BARR Engineering-mining facilitators

*Note - Above is a partial list of those interested in Minnesota's metallic sulfide mineral potential

Click on image to see larger view of the "Duluth Complex" DNR

Mining Minnesota Links

News Archives

Minnesota's Mineral Lands Statutes

Minnesota's Mining Laws


Mineral Rights Ownership in Minnesota

Public Land and Mineral Ownership in MN

2007 Minnesota Mining Tax Guide

State Owned Lands In MN by Land Type Map

Governor's Committee on MN's Mining Future

Governor's Committee on MN's Mining Future update - October 2008

Minnesota DNR Lands & Minerals: Publications

Minnesota DNR Preference rights lease list

Iron Range, Cities and Towns - Macalester

Laurentian Vision Partnership

The Minnesota Regional Copper-Nickel Study
Publisher: Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) 1976-1979

Index to the Minnesota Regional Copper-Nickel Study (5 MB)

Volume 1: Executive Summary 1976 (large file 8 MB)

Volume 3 - Chapter 4: Water Resources (very large file 24 MB)

Volume 3 - Chapter 5: Noise in the Environment (4 MB)

Volume 4 - Chapter 1: Aquatic Biology Resources (large file 11 MB)

Mining The World

Click on image to see larger view of Acid Mine Drainage in the Rio Tinto River (Spain)


Environmental impact of mining activities in the Odiel river basin (SW Spain)

ABANDONED MINES Problems, Issues and Policy Challenges for Decision Makers-UN

The Earth's Open Wounds: Abandoned and Orphaned Mines

FIGHTING BACK - At mines in Peru and Indonesia, Denver-based gold company Newmont faced bitter,sustained opposition and discovered

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, Why Societies Collapse: Jared Diamond at Princeton University

Click on image to see larger view of Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy's (MCEA) Mineral Exploration Map of Northeastern Minnesota



Click on image to see: USFS Hardrock Mineral Exploration in the Superior National Forest



Duluth Complex of Northeastern Minnesota

Extensive and advanced exploration for copper-nickel sulfide mineralization is occurring throughout Minnesota's Arrowhead Region, as well as other parts of the state. Sulfide mining, if allowed, would threaten Minnesota's waters with toxic heavy metal contamination and Acid Mine Drainage (AMD).

See Wikipedia "Duluth Complex" references linked HERE



Click on image to see: Western Lake Superior Region: Midcontinent Rift and known Ni-Cu-PGM Sulfide mineralization in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Source-USGS


Article Series

Seattle POST-INTELLIGENCER Reporters Special Report-The Mining Of The West

New York Times-Toxic Waters Series

Minneapolis - Fedgazette on Mining

High Country News - Mining

Mother Jones - Mining

National Geographic - Mining

Click on image to see larger view of Midcontinent Rift System


Click on image to see larger view of - Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) from the Buck and Dober Mines pollutes this Michigan river.

New threats of Acid Mine Drainage from the Eagle Project, a sulfide mine planned for the Yellow Dog Plains of Michigan.


Click on image to see larger view of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) in Whitewood Creek South Dakota

Arsenic Contamination from Hard Rock Mining -Whitewood Creek-Belle Fourche River, South Dakota

Watershed Contamination from Hard-Rock Mining - Whitewood Creek - Belle Fourche River - Cheyenne River System, Western South Dakota


Click on image to see larger view of Active State Leases in the Duluth Complex

Click on image to see larger view of Mining The Arrowhead


Click on image to see larger view of Superior National Forest Surface and Subsurface Ownership


Mining MN Image

Click on image to see larger view of Map of Mineral Exploration - Northern MN

Map of Mineral Exploration on State Non-Ferrous Leases March 2008 MN DNR

Map of Mineral Rights Ownership in the Superior National Forest and BWCAW

Dr. David M. Chambers on Metal Sulfide Mining - January 2008

Dr. David M.Chambers - "A Position Paper On Perpetual Water Treatment For Mines"

James Kuipers and Sarah Zuzulock "Financial Assurance for Hardrock Mine Cleanup" - Presentation

James Kuipers "Putting A Price On Pollution- Financial Assurance for Mine Reclamation and Closure"

Dr. Thomas Michael Power "Mining in Minnesota's Iron Range: Past and Future Perspectives" - Presentation

Dr. Thomas Michael Power - "The Economic Role of Metal Mining in Minnesota: Past Present and Future"

Drill Map

Click on image or HERE to see larger view of Archived Drill Core and Data

MINING MINNESOTA - The purple dots on this image of Minnesota show drill cores, which indicate the extent to which mining companies are planning to conduct metallic sulfide mining operations in the state.





Take Action!

Protect Water - Stop PolyMet

Public comment period for PolyMet permits open until March 6, 2018.

Public meetings will be held on:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Mesabi East (Aurora-Hoyt) High School
601 N 1st St W, Aurora, MN 55705
4:00-9:00 p.m. Open house
6:00-9:00 p.m. Public comment forum

Thursday, February 8, 2018
DECC - Duluth Entertainment Convention Center
350 Harbor Drive, Duluth, MN 55802
1:00-9:00 p.m. Open house
6:00-9:00 p.m. Public comment forum


Protect Water, Stop PolyMet


Take Action!

Bring a "Prove-it-First" Sulfide Mining Resolution to your 2018 Precinct Caucus!

Minnesota's precinct caucuses will be held Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. More HERE



Take Action!

H.R. 3115: PolyMet Land Exchange Bill introduced by Rep. Rick Nolan to fast track destructive sulfide mine in Minnesota's protected Superior National Forest!

H.R. 3115: PolyMet Bill Would Undermine Citizens Due Process Rights and Bypass Environmental Laws and Protections


Protect Minnesota’s Land, Water, Wildlife and People - Stop the PolyMet Bill!

Special Interests Win, Environment Loses with Rep. Nolan’s PolyMet Bill

Click HERE For More Information



March - 2017

Lawsuit Filed to Halt Land Exchange for PolyMet Mine

PolyMet Mine poses an unacceptable risk and will harm Minnesota’s water and environment

Duluth, Minnesota--Save Our Sky Blue Waters, Save Lake Superior Association, and the Sierra Club North Star Chapter have filed legal action against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land exchange with PolyMet. More Info HERE

Weeks Act


Tell the U.S. Forest Service to protect all of Minnesota’s waters and watersheds from Toxic Sulfide Mining!

To Comment on the proposed USFS - Northern Minnesota Federal Mineral Withdrawal EIS - go HERE

* This Comment Period is Closed

Click HERE for more information

SNF Mineral Withdrawal


Nix Twin Metals' Leases – and - Stop PolyMet's Land Swap Go HERE

Twin Metals Mineral Leases: Tell the U.S. Forest Service and the Governor, protect Minnesota’s waters and forests:

* This Comment Period is Closed

Laurentian Divide


PolyMet Mine and Land Exchange Final EIS (FEIS) released

For Comment Information Click HERE

PolyMet FEIS

Protect our Land and Water, Reject the PolyMet Sulfide Mine!

Mount Polley Mine Disaster


More on PolyMet

Save Our Sky Blue Waters submitted comments with Save Lake Superior Association, the Center For Biological Diversity, Friends of the Cloquet Valley State Forest and the Sierra Club on PolyMet's NorthMet Mine and Land Exchange SDEIS.

Click here for a PDF of our SDEIS comments on the PolyMet project


PolyMet Fact Sheets

How long will PolyMet need to treat water? and Issues for Commenting on PolyMet's EIS


It's time to put PolyMet on the shelf

By Elanne Palcich


Go Here For Archived Information on the PolyMet Supplemental Draft EIS (SDEIS)



(Archive) Oppose: H.R. 761: National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act

Say No to H.R. 761 - Protect Our Communities and Our Environment!

Tell your Representative to oppose H.R. 761 in its entirety!

Update: Go HERE

Rep. Nolan votes with Republicans for special favors bill for big mining!


Events & Happenings

Facebook_SOS For more recent news, updates, events, alerts and happenings, please join us on Facebook


Acid Mine Drainage Coming soon To A Stream, River or Lake near you...

For more information on the Northern Campaign to Protect the Arrowhead Region from Sulfide Mining - Go HERE

Link: SOS AMD Billboard Image


Link: Sulfide Mining For Our Children?

*This bill stalled & died in Congress

- Take Action -

Stop the Land Exchange!



Representative Cravaack introduces Special Favors Bill for multinational mining corporations that will allow tens of thousands of acres of Federally protected SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST lands to be strip mined!

Just Say NO!Oppose H.R. 5544: Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act

Representative Cravaack

MinnPost/Terry Gydesen


According to Rep. David Dill, D-Crane Lake, "...we should mine, log, and lease the hell out of that land that we get in the change."

Legislation is a Windfall to Foreign Mining Corporations and would Fast Track Turning Minnesota's Beloved Arrowhead into a Toxic Sulfide Mining District

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) in a Lake

More Info found HERE


Events & Happenings Archives


Sled Dogs To St.Paul Duluth



Frank Moe's Sled Dog's To St. Paul


Events and Happenings archived HERE...


Sulfide Mining Petitions

"Prove It First" Petition to print

"Prove It First" Sulfide Mining Petition North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

Keep Sulfuric Acid Out of Minnesota's Waters - Center For Biological Diversity

Minnesota Policymakers: Protect Our Waters, Wilderness & Jobs From Sulfide Mining

Protect Northeastern Minnesota Wilderness From Big Mining Interests


Arrowhead Region

Pagami Fire

Questions Linger in Aftermath of Pagami Creek Fire - By Elanne Palcich

"Both the public and the U.S. Forest Service need to understand how a lightning strike in a bog near Pagami Creek on August 18 turned into a full-scale conflagration on September 12, burning approximately 1/10 of the Boundary Waters." Found HERE

Streamlining Pollution in Minnesota By Elanne Palcich

"On March 3, 2011 Governor Dayton signed into law legislation designed to streamline the environmental review process. This legislation directly fast-tracks proposed copper-nickel mining in Minnesota." Found HERE

Popping the PolyMet Propaganda Pill By Elanne Palcich

"PolyMet, Inc. is a Canadian company with Swiss ties that is currently undergoing environmental review as it seeks permitting to open the first copper-nickel sulfide mine in the state of Minnesota." Found HERE

USFS Halfway Ranger Station Historic District and "K" Lab near Ely -2010 photo

Kawishiwi Demolition: The Pen and the Bulldozer By Elanne Palcich

"The mine plan as presented on the Duluth Metals website puts the entrance to its proposed underground mine precisely in the location of the Kawishiwi Research Station." Read it HERE...





Superior National Forest

AA! Reject the Damaging Boundary Waters–School Trust Land Exchange!

The U. S. Forest Service comment period on its School Trust Land Exchange draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) ends on October 10, 2017.

Stop the giveaway of the Superior National Forest being proposed in the name of our school children!

Click HERE for more information


AA! Reject the Damaging Boundary Waters Land Swap! - It would be Harmful to the Boundary Waters, Superior National Forest and Lake Superior. It’s a Bad Deal for the Nation and Minnesota's School Children, A Good Deal for Mining and Logging - HERE

Superior National Forest, Minnesota


AA! Protect Minnesota's water resources! - Ask for an EIS at the Northshore Mine expansion that will unearth sulfide minerals at their taconite mine! More information on the Northshore Mining Mine Progression EAW - HERE


AA! Mining Doublespeak at the Minnesota Legislature - Sustainable Mining is an Oxymoron - Legislation has been introduced to create a so-called "Sustainable Mining Institute" (HF 2842/ SF 2632). Email or call your legislators in opposition to this bill - Go here for more information


AA! Comment on Northshore Mining’s pit expansion that will unearth sulfide bearing rock! The public comment period ends Monday, August 19, 2013 Go HERE -This comment period is closed-


AA! SOS MINNESOTA WOLVES Stop the hunting & trapping season on wolves! More info HERE


AA! Kawishiwi Building Disposition EA USFS - The Forest Service is proposing to eliminate the historic Kawishiwi Research Station and "K" Lab near Ely and the BWCAW. The destruction of these Superior National Forest cultural and scientific landmarks, would pave the way for the impending sulfide mining projects located near the BWCAW. Comment Period Closed

See More Here


AA! Federal Hardrock Mineral Prospecting Permit Draft EIS (EIS) - USFS - Broadscale analysis to address FS consent and BLM issuance of federal hardrock mineral prospecting permits and operating plans (present and future). Comment Period Closed

See More Here


AA! Proposed NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange EIS Scoping - The Superior National Forest is currently developing scoping materials for the land exchange portion of the PolyMet Mine Project. There is a 45 day comment period, which was noticed in the Federal Register: October 13, 2010 Comment Period Closed

See More HERE


AA! Send PolyMet To Summer School Action Closed

See More HERE


AA! PolyMet's NorthMet Mine Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released. Public comment period ends at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 Comment Period Closed

See More HERE


AA! Support the "Safe Mines To Protect Our Water" Bill. House Bill: HF0916; Senate Companion: SF0845 Bill Has Been Withdrawn

See More HERE


AA! Oppose Rep. Oberstar's HR 4292, Senators Klobuchar and Coleman's S 3411 Superior National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 2007 and 2008 - Has Stalled and Died in Congress

See More HERE

Video & Audio

Click Here to See VIDEO Archives

Minnesota Joint Legislative Hearing on metallic sulfide mining - Video

Dr. David Blowes on Acid Mine Drainage remediation at UMD - Audio