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Business North - The Daily Briefing - Business Newspaper Online
Duluth Chamber endorses PolyMet project
PHOTO: DAVID ROSS
Board members of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce have announced support for PolyMet Mining project, which is under review by the public and regulators after a decade of environmental study.
"We reached this decision after first meeting with, and gaining perspective from, the leadership of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness." Chamber President and CEO David Ross said Wednesday in a prepared statement. Chamber representatives also toured the PolyMet mining site before the decision was made.
It came a week after the last of three public hearings was held to address an environmental plan to mine and process minerals near PolyMet's Hoyt Lakes office.
Chamber board members were unanimous in their support for PolyMet, Ross said.
"We respectfully encourage decision-makers empowered with determining PolyMet's future to allow this needed project to proceed," he said.
Chamber board members believe Minnesota's mining industry is strategic to the area's economy, and the copper-nickel-precious metals project will generate thousands of new jobs for our region, the Chamber said in its endorsement.
"The board appreciates how strategic metals mining will have a positive impact on local tax revenue and education funding. Additionally, the board realizes how mining companies operating in Northeastern Minnesota, such as PolyMet, will utilized advanced technology to meet rigorous environmental standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Minnesota to ensure protection of human and environmental health. These agencies rely on years of scientific research to set these standards that safeguard our air, water and land," Ross said.
He noted that several area contractors already have been tapped to assist PolyMet.
"Barr Engineering is doing much of PolyMet's environmental work. Krech Ojard is providing PolyMet engineering support. In 2013 alone, PolyMet spent more than $1.2 million doing business with Duluth Companies," he said.
A 2009 study by UMDís Bureau of Business and Economic Research Labovitz School affirms the significant economic impact nonferrous mining holds. It found the potential of creating up to 2,115 direct and 1,361 indirect jobs.
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