Together with the U.S. Forest Service, we proposed a land exchange to consolidate our respective land ownerships. The Forest Service subsequently authorized the exchange as detailed in its Final Record of Decision issued January 9, 2017.

PolyMet will receive approximately 6,650 acres of federal land above and around the NorthMet ore body in exchange for four parcels of land totaling 6,690 acres currently owned or controlled by PolyMet. The private lands are located within the Superior National Forest boundaries and would be managed as part of the Superior National Forest for multiple uses including recreation, research, forest management and conservation.

The federal land is located over the mineral rights we already control in an established mining district adjacent to intensively developed private lands including iron ore mining areas. This is where we would develop the NorthMet copper-nickel mine.

The Forest Service cites several benefits to the exchange, including:

  • A 505-acre net increase of wetlands to the federal estate
  • A net increase of 94 acres with public water frontage available for public and tribal use
  • A 40-acre net gain in National Forest Service lands
  • Improved management effectiveness by exchanging lands that have no public overland access with lands that do have access
  • Reduction of 33 miles in property boundaries to be managed by the Forest Service
  • Federal cost savings from the elimination of two easements and their associated administrative costs
  • Conveyance of federal lands already adjacent to intensively developed private lands for other inholdings in the Superior National Forest.

Environmental effects and mitigation of the land exchange were analyzed as part of the NorthMet Project Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Federal guidelines require that the exchanged lands be of equal value. The land exchange does not approve construction. See permit process.

See more details in our land exchange booklet.