The NorthMet project is part of northeastern Minnesota’s Duluth Complex, one of the world’s largest undeveloped deposits of copper, nickel and other precious metals. PolyMet, which controls 100 percent of the NorthMet ore body through a long-term lease, proposes a mining process that will use advanced science and engineering to recover copper, nickel and precious metals.

The NorthMet project is not in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area watershed. It is about 175 river miles upstream of Lake Superior.

Duluth Complex map

The Duluth Complex

The Duluth Complex, a well-known geological formation near the eastern end of the historic Mesabi Iron Range, contains large quantities of copper, nickel, cobalt, platinum, palladium and gold. In fact, it holds the world’s third-largest accumulation of nickel and the world’s second-largest accumulation of copper and platinum-group metals.

The complex stretches for 30 miles just south of the eastern end of the historic Mesabi Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota – the major iron ore source for the domestic steel industry for more than 100 years.

The NorthMet project

The NorthMet project features two significant assets that together cover approximately 16,700 acres, or 26 square miles.

The NorthMet Deposit

The NorthMet ore body is near a number of shut-down iron ore mines and the operational Peter Mitchell open pit mine approximately one mile north. The ore body comprises 275 million tons proven and probable reserves grading of 0.79% copper equivalent with Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources of 694 million tons grading 0.74% copper equivalent.  Please refer to the Updated Technical Report for assumptions and explanations.

Tonnage Copper Equivalent (1) Copper Nickel Total Precious Metals
million st million mt (%) m lbs (%) (%) (oz/st) (g/mt)
Global Resource (2)
Measured 234.4 212.6 0.73% 3,431 0.263% 0.077% 0.010 0.33
Indicated 654.2 593.5 0.63% 8,202 0.223% 0.066% 0.008 0.27
M + I 888.6 806.1 0.65% 11,633 0.234% 0.069% 0.008 0.29
Inferred 289.6 262.7 0.66% 3,813 0.246% 0.068% 0.009 0.32
TOTAL 1,178.2 1,068.8 0.66% 3,813 0.246% 0.068% 0.009 0.29
Mineral Resources (3)
Measured 202.5 183.7 0.79% 3,204 0.285% 0.083% 0.011 0.37
Indicated 491.7 446.1 0.72% 7,052 0.256% 0.075% 0.010 0.33
M + I 694.2 629.8 0.74% 10,255 0.264% 0.077% 0.010 0.34
Inferred 229.7 208.4 0.75% 3,455 0.273% 0.079% 0.011 0.37
TOTAL 923.9 838.1 0.74% 13,701 0.267% 0.078% 0.010 0.35
Reserves 274.7 249.2 0.79% 4,340 0.284% 0.082% 0.011 0.38
Mine Plan (4) 231.1 209.7 0.77% 3,565 0.273% 0.080% 0.011 0.38
Notes

  1. Metals converted to copper based on 2008 DFS Update metal prices
  2. 0.1% copper cut-off
  3. $7.42 per short ton net metal value cut-off
  4. 20-year mine plan subject to permit applications

The Erie Plant

Located approximately six miles west of the NorthMet ore body, the Erie Plant includes crushing and milling facilities, electric substations, tailings facilities, an office building, a road and rail that connects to the NorthMet deposit, and other essential infrastructure. Though the processing plant is capable of producing 100,000 tons of ore per day, the NorthMet project is designed to process 32,000 tons of ore per day, using less than one third of the Erie Plant’s capacity.

Working in an established mining district and reusing the existing infrastructure reduces not only development costs, but also the environmental impact. See the current project status.

Economic benefit of a 20-year Super Bowl
The Super Bowl creates an estimated $500 million in economic impact to the host city. The NorthMet project will create this same impact to Hoyt Lakes and the surrounding area annually – for 20 years in a row. That means a total impact of $10 billion, according to a study by the University of Minnesota Duluth.