MPCA – PolyMet draft permits available for comment

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MPCA – PolyMet draft permits available for comment

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) invites the public to make comments on the Agency’s draft air quality permit, draft water quality permit, and draft 401 certification for the Poly Met Mining, Inc., (PolyMet) NorthMet mining project. PolyMet is proposing to develop a mine and processing plant to extract copper, nickel, and precious metals from the NorthMet Deposit in northeastern Minnesota.

The formal public notices for each are available on the MPCA public notice page at The draft permits and support documents are on the MPCA’s NorthMet project pages at

Draft air permit

An air permit is a regulatory document that contains legally enforceable requirements. A permit identifies the units at each facility that generate air pollutants, details the conditions under which the facility must operate to comply with rules and regulations and, where applicable, sets limits on those emissions.

Draft water quality permit

A water quality permit (or more formally, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System/State Disposal System or NPDES/SDS permit) establishes specific limits and requirements to protect Minnesota's surface and groundwater quality for a variety of uses, including drinking water, aquatic life and recreation.

Draft 401 certification

The draft 401 certification is a water quality certification from the state that would become a part of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Section 404 permit. In the 401 certification the state reviews the proposed activity in order to determine if it will comply with applicable water quality standards, and identifies any conditions needed to ensure compliance. If the review finds that water quality will be protected, the 401 certification is issued and the certification and conditions become part of the 404 permit.

How to comment

The MPCA will accept comments through Friday, March 16, 2018. Submit comments via the state’s PolyMet portal, by attending a public meeting, or by mail to:

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

PolyMet Draft Air Permit/Water Permit/401 Certification Comment – 4th Floor

520 Lafayette Road N St. Paul, MN 55155-4045

If you send a comment by mail, please specify the permit you are commenting on in the address.

All written comments received during the comment period are considered when the MPCA decides whether to issue a permit or certification. Comments can and often do result in changes to the final permit.

Public meetings

The MPCA will hold two public meetings on the draft permits jointly with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

  • Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018
    Mesabi East  High School
    601 N 1st St W, Aurora, MN 55705
    4:00-9:00 p.m.  Open house
    6:00-9:00 p.m.  Public comment forum
  • Thursday,  Feb. 8, 2018
    DECC – Duluth Entertainment Convention Center
    350 Harbor Drive, Duluth, MN 55802
    1:00-9:00 p.m.  Open house
    6:00-9:00 p.m.  Public comment forum

Comments on the MPCA’s draft permits and certification, as well as the DNR’s draft permit to mine, will be accepted at these meetings. Stenographers will be available to record oral comments offered individually and during the public comment forum. In addition, comment boxes will be available for submitting written comments and objections at the meetings and staff from both the DNR and MPCA will be available to answer questions during each open house.

Additional Information

For the most up to date information, check the state’s PolyMet web portal and MPCA’s project website. The web portal provides basic permitting information and directs users to agency websites with more detail. On the portal you can sign up for the state’s PolyMet email distribution list to receive project-related updates.

You are receiving this message as a subscriber to the PolyMet email notification list.  This list is hosted by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). It is used jointly by MPCA and DNR to provide regular updates and share information about key steps in the permitting/certification processes, including opportunities for public comment.