Mining the metals we use every day
Found in everything from wind turbines to diabetes test strips, the metals from PolyMet’s proposed NorthMet project are essential to our everyday lives.
Without them, we wouldn’t have electricity, plumbing or many of our household appliances. In fact, you wouldn’t have a computer to view this website.
Metals we depend on
|Copper: construction, plumbing, electrical wiring, electronic devices, wind turbines (4.7 tons per turbine!)|
|Nickel: high-strength alloys, stainless steel, aerospace, hospital and kitchen equipment, gas and power plant turbines, hybrid car batteries, aircraft engines|
|Cobalt: household magnets, hybrid cars, aircraft engines (more than 110 pounds), cell phone batteries, hand tools, cardiac stent|
|Platinum and palladium: catalytic converters, fuel cells, diabetes test strip|
|Gold: jewelry, dental and medical applications, electronics (34 milligrams in one cellphone)|
Increasing national security
While there is significant domestic demand for these metals, very few mines in the U.S. produce them. In fact, the U.S. imports nearly 90 percent of its platinum, more than 50 percent of its palladium, around 35 percent of its copper and gold, and hasonly one active nickel mine. Even with the high rate of recycling, the demand for these metals far exceeds our national supply.
By meeting Minnesota’s strict environmental standards through a comprehensive environmental permitting process, we will be able to mine the metals we need every day without harming our region’s air and water quality. (Download the DNR’s fact sheets on how the PolyMet project will protect water quality [PDF] and air quality [PDF].)
The Importance of Copper