October 27, 2018
Breathing Life into an Idle Plant
Part of PolyMet Mining’s commitment to responsible mining includes minimizing land disturbance as much as possible. We reduce our impact to the land by operating in an existing mine district and reusing existing infrastructure.
Our project site includes the former LTV Steel taconite processing site, which has been idle since 2001. We will put the former plant back to work processing copper, nickel and precious metal ore – however, to do that safely and sustainably, we must first modernize, refurbish and repurpose many of the facilities.
Reusing the idle infrastructure, including the tailings basin, crushers, mill building, rail lines, pipes, roads, transmission lines and substations, will reduce the capital cost of the project substantially while facilitating long-term scalability.
Because some of the facilities were built prior to widespread asbestos regulations, our environmental team took a close look to determine if asbestos abatement would be needed. As is the case of many facilities constructed in the mid-1990s, we found asbestos in certain locations. This summer we started asbestos abatement work to ensure all facilities will be safe for construction and operations. We also found that some environmental mold remediation and clean-up was required around the processing facilities due to them having not been operation in over 15 years.
Standards in all industries, including the mining industry, have evolved tremendously since the LTV Steel plant was closed. New emission control and process technology make it possible to bring the older facilities up to modern regulations, allowing us to operate safely and responsibly in the years to come.
PolyMet intends to meet or exceed the required standards – not only because we’re expected to by regulators and community members, but because it’s the right thing to do.