According to the Friends of the Boundary Waters, "Sulfide mining has decimated water supplies, killed fish, destroyed entire landscapes, and left taxpayers holding the bag for expensive clean-up operations almost everywhere it’s been done before. Now, the sulfide mining industry has set its sights on northeastern Minnesota, including many areas at the very edges of the Boundary Waters."
Then why on earth would anyone want to put the famed Boundary Waters Canoe Area at risk? There are over 1000 lakes in the BWCA that would be at risk along with numerous other lakes in the area's watershed. There are thousands of people who enjoy paddling, camping and fishing in the lakes of the Boundary Waters. There are families and businesses that exist to cater to the visitors of this unique wilderness area. Any amount of risk to the BWCA is too much. The Friends of the Boundary Waters have oodles of information about the proposed mining project and I encourage you to watch their video and read their website..
I've done some digging, no pun intended, of my own and have learned a little bit about the new partnership between Duluth Metals and a Chilean Mining Company called Antofagasta. Together they will be known as "Twin Metals Minnesota LLC ("Twin Metals") and have reached a 130 million dollar agreement to work together on this mining venture. Unfortunately for the Boundary Waters these companies have found what they are calling, "The Duluth Complex that hosts one of the world's largest undeveloped repositories of copper, nickel and PGMs." The company likes Northeastern Minnesota not only for the large deposits but also for the location. The deposit located near other mining areas with railways leading to the Great Lakes. From the Great Lakes the shipping opportunities are ideal and endless.
While mining companies may be seeing dollar signs the Friends of the Boundary Waters would like to see Stop signs. Does Governor Pawlenty see dollar signs, question marks or Stop signs when it comes to mining near the million acres of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness? He met with the Chilean Ambassador on August 3rd to discuss the issue.
We already have something far more precious than nickel in Northeastern Minnesota, it's called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Can mining beneath a lake adjacent to the Boundary Waters not cause pollution or other environmental concerns? According to the Friends of the Boundary Waters the answer is "No." But when the potential exists to make boatloads of money you can bet this debate will go on for a long time to come.