Title transfer will consolidate surface and mineral ownership in and around NorthMet ore body

PolyMet Mining Corp. received notice from the U.S. Forest Service Wednesday that a closing will be held on June 28 for a land swap between the agency and the nonferrous mining company.

Exchanging the land, PolyMet said, is central to developing Minnesota’s first copper-nickel-precious metals mine near Hoyt Lakes.

“This administrative exchange gives us exclusive control of the land over our ore body and provides a secure foundation on which we can complete project financing and permitting, build the project, create hundreds of sustainable jobs, and bring these essential metals to market,” Jon Cherry, PolyMet president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

In January 2017, the federal government issued a record of decision authorizing the land exchange, determining it was in the best public interest. On June 28, officials will sign off on the decision. 

The transfer of approximately 6,650 acres of federal lands to PolyMet consolidates surface land and mineral ownership in and around the NorthMet ore body. PolyMet said its title transfer on four tracts of private land to the Forest Service (totaling 6,690 acres) helps consolidate Forest Service land holdings in northeast Minnesota.

Following the exchange, PolyMet’s total surface ownership rights will be approximately 19,000 contiguous acres (30 square miles) of land including the mine and processing sites, the transportation corridor connecting those sites and surrounding buffer lands.

Some groups have filed lawsuits challenging the exchange. Those actions will continue to advance. A bill authored by U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL-8thDistrict) and approved by the House of Representatives, however, would block those legal actions if it also is advanced by the Senate. U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) has authored that companion bill, but no action has yet been taken.