It’s difficult to fully comprehend the effect that PolyMet Mining’s NorthMet Project will have on the economy. But one can get a glimpse simply by looking at what the iron ore industry has done for Minnesota’s Iron Range and the state for many generations.

It has supported tens of thousands of families, dozens of communities, schools, commerce and recreation centers, and more. It has created opportunities for scores of children to attend universities and technical schools and to have their own careers and families.

Mining in the Duluth Complex, the untapped rich geologic formation where the NorthMet deposit is found, would diversify the mining-based economy and could someday rival the iron industry’s billions of dollars contributed to the region’s and state’s economy.

The project is expected to produce substantial community and economic benefits through construction and operations. Hundreds of millions in capital will be required to rehabilitate and modernize the former processing site and build the mine over a 18-24 month construction and ramp-up period. Most of these dollars will be spent in Minnesota. This is in addition to the more than $200 million the company has invested in the project since 2006, with nearly half of that associated with the environmental review and permitting process alone.

The project will require 2 million hours of construction comparable to the effort required to build Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. In operation, it will give approximately 360 people a safe and rewarding place to work, paying annual wages and benefits estimated at $36 million.

By the numbers

According to independent research [PDF], the project also will generate:

  • More than 600 indirect and induced jobs in goods and services and other sectors where PolyMet dollars will flow.
  • $515 million annually in St. Louis County alone in wages, benefits and other spending. This amounts to more than $10 billion over the 20-year life of the mine.
  • $15 million annually in state and local tax revenues, or $300 million over the life of mine.
  • $45 million annually in federal tax revenue, or $900 million over the life of the mine.
  • More than $2 million annually for northeastern Minnesota schools.