PolyMet Mining Corp. (NYSE: PLM), which is awaiting permits to begin nonferrous mineral mining, released its second quarter report Thursday.

On June 30, the corporation had cash of $17.595 million compared with $6.931 million on Dec. 31. An additional $60 million of debentures is available from Glencore, a key investor, PolyMet said. Its loss for the quarter was $2.7 million and for the half year $10.4 million.

PolyMet invested $5.4 million cash into its NorthMet project during the three months ended June 30, compared with $6.2 million in the prior year period. It invested $10.4 million during the six months, compared with $11.103 million in the prior year period.

Highlights of 2018 include:

  • In June, the company and the U.S. Forest Service exchanged titles to federal and private lands, completing the land exchange and giving the company control over both surface and mineral rights in and around the NorthMet ore body; 
  • In March, the company issued an Updated Technical Report incorporating process improvements, project improvements and environmental controls described in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and draft permits. The update also included detailed capital costs, operating costs and economic valuations for the mine plan being permitted as well as potential future production opportunities; 
  • Also in March, the company and Glencore agreed to extend the term of outstanding debentures until March 31, 2019, reduce the interest rate on the outstanding debentures and make available up to $80 million in additional funding. Proceeds are being used to complete permitting, purchase wetland credits, advance detailed engineering and perform certain early works to prepare the site for construction; 
  • In January, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released the draft Permit to Mine for a public review and comment period, which has now closed; and 
  • The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency released the draft water quality permit, draft section 401 certification and draft air emissions permit for public review and comment periods, which have all closed. 

By year end, PolyMet expects permitting decisions to be made by the MDNR and MPCA, although the timing is not guaranteed. Additional objectives include:

  • Favorable decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Final Record of Decision and 404 wetlands permit under the Clean Water Act. 
  • Favorable decisions on final state permits (Permit to Mine, air, water, and dam safety permits). 
  • Completion of project implementation plan; and 
  • Execution of a construction finance plan, subject to typical conditions precedent such as receipt of key permits. 

As of June 30, PolyMet had spent $128.642 million on environmental review and permitting since the NorthMet Project moved from exploration to development stage.