PolyMet Loan From Iron Range Resources Approved
Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, December 16, 2010 – PolyMet Mining Corp. (TSX: POM; NYSE AMEX: PLM) (PolyMet or the Company) announced today that the Board of Iron Range Resources (“IRR”) has, on the commissioners recommendation, approved a secured loan to PolyMet of up to $4 million. The IRR board is composed of five members of the Minnesota Senate, five members Minnesota House of Representatives and three citizen members. The loan agreement between the IRR and PolyMet will provide funding from the Taconite Area Environmental Protection Fund to purchase lands for public use, to support the creation of jobs, and to diversify and expand the economy of the region.
The Iron Range Resources agency was created seventy years ago by the State Legislature to stabilize and enhance the economy of northeastern Minnesota’s Taconite Assistance Area. PolyMet’s NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals project, located in the established Mesabi mining district in northeastern Minnesota, lies within the funding jurisdiction of the IRR. The loan will be used to purchase forest land, wetlands, and lakes with high recreational value that would become available for public use and enjoyment. These properties, which PolyMet currently has under purchase option, would be purchased for future use as part of a proposed land exchange for surface rights at the proposed NorthMet mine site currently controlled by the U.S. Forest Service. The $4 million loan will be secured by the land to be acquired from proceeds of the loan, carry a fixed interest rate of 5% per annum, and will be repayable on December 31, 2015. Subject to regulatory approval, the Company has also agreed to issue warrants giving the IRR the right to purchase up to 400,000 shares of PolyMet common stock at US$2.50 per share at any time until December 31, 2015.
By providing this loan, Iron Range Resources is helping to advance regional growth and secure public access to important lands, said Joe Scipioni, president and CEO of PolyMet. This source of funds from IRR is an important step in PolyMet’s effort to create jobs in northern Minnesota to the benefit of the local, regional, and state economies. Bringing the former LTV plant back into operation, producing high value copper, nickel, and precious metals, is both an exciting and strategic opportunity.
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PolyMet Mining Corp. (www.polymetmining.com) is a publicly-traded mine development company that controls 100% of the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals ore body through a long-term lease and owns 100% of the Erie Plant, a large processing facility located approximately six miles from the ore body in the established mining district of the Mesabi Range in northeastern Minnesota. PolyMet Mining Corp. has completed its Definitive Feasibility Study and is seeking environmental and operating permits to enable it to commence production. The NorthMet Project is expected to require approximately one and a half million hours of construction labor and create 400 longterm jobs, a level of activity that will have a significant multiplier effect in the local economy.
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