DNR - Monthly Twin Metals EIS Update – December 2020

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minnesota department of natural resources

Minnesota DNR - Monthly Update:
Twin Metals Minnesota EIS

January 7, 2021

About this Update

To provide information about the State’s environmental review of Twin Metals Minnesota’s project proposal, the Minnesota DNR is issuing monthly updates to those who have signed up to receive them on the State web portal for Twin Metals Minnesota project. This message is the monthly update for activity during December 2020.

Each monthly update provides information on the status of Minnesota’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process and identifies new documents that have been posted on the Minnesota DNR’s webpages for the project since the prior monthly update.

Minnesota DNR is the responsible governmental unit (RGU) for the State’s EIS. Please note that the federal government is preparing a separate EIS for the Twin Metals project. Information about the Federal EIS is available here. [Please note that the Federal EIS link is not set up to open with Internet Explorer; an alternate browser is needed.]

State EIS Process Status

Preparation of an EIS for any large and complex project is a multi-year process. Minnesota DNR is currently in the scoping phase of the EIS process for the proposed Twin Metals project. The scoping process helps us ensure the future EIS assesses the proposed project’s potentially significant environmental impacts, but also helps define project alternatives, potential mitigations, timelines, and additional data needs.

Revised proposal: Twin Metals Minnesota submitted its revised Project Proposal to Minnesota DNR on July 24, 2020. Since then, we have completed our review of the revised project proposal, determined that it was incomplete, and on December 1, we requested additional information from Twin Metals. On December 18, 2020, Twin Metals submitted a second revision of its Project Proposal to Minnesota DNR along with its responses to our comments. We are now in the process of reviewing this information.

The scoping process is iterative. As is typical for a project of this complexity, we anticipate multiple rounds of Minnesota DNR comments followed by revisions from Twin Metals.

Contractor RFP: The period for contractors to respond to the Minnesota DNR’s Request for Proposals (RFP) closed on November 3 and we are currently reviewing the proposals submitted. The Minnesota DNR is seeking a consultant to assist in our review of the proposed project. Based on the complexity of the proposed project and the level of public interest, it is important for Minnesota DNR to retain additional capacity and technical expertise early in the review process. Twin Metals is required to reimburse all costs associated with the EIS, including contractor assistance.

New Documents Available

The following new documents were posted in December 2020 to our project website. Please click on underlined text to link directly to the material(s).

DNR Documents

December 1, 2020 DNR-RGU Comments on TMM Revised Project Proposal Description. This document contains the comments generated by Minnesota DNR and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency during RGU review of the revised Twin Metals Minnesota Project Proposal Description received on July 24, 2020. These comments have been submitted to Twin Metals Minnesota.

Proposer Documents

Note: Due to the large number of proposer documents posted this month, an individual link is not provided for every document. The documents can be found by scrolling down on the Proposer Documents webpage.

November 20, 2020 TMM Annotated Tables of Contents. The Minnesota DNR received annotated tables of contents (TOCs) for Twin Metals’ Environmental Review Support Documents, i.e., data packages. Twin Metals prepared the TOCs in response to a request from the BLM to summarize the information that is under development by the company for submittal in a future EIS phase. There are 39 documents in total, identifying the potential future contents of data packages and resource reports (as identified in the TMM Environmental Data Package Organization document). All future submittals must ultimately conform to a final scoping decision by DNR.  While subject to change through the scoping process, it is anticipated that the data packages and resource reports will address the following topics:

  • Data Packages: Water Resources; Multimedia Screening Assessment; Air Quality; Wetlands and Riparian Resources; Biology; Socioeconomics and Environmental Justice; Cultural Resources; Visual Resources; Noise and Vibration; Geotechnical; Geochemistry; and Cumulative Effects.
  • Resource Reports: Hazardous Waste; Geology, Mineral and Soils; Wilderness, Recreation and Tourism; Transportation; and Land Use.

December 18, 2020 TMM Revised Project Proposal Description. This is Twin Metals’ Project Proposal revised in response to RGU review comments provided on December 1, 2020.  

December 18, 2020 TMM Responses to DNR-RGU Comments. This document contains Twin Metals’ responses to the December 1, 2020 comments provided by the Minnesota DNR and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency during RGU review of the revised Twin Metals Minnesota Project Proposal Description received on July 24, 2020.

More Information

All project updates as well as key documents (new and previously posted) can be accessed through the State web portal for Twin Metals Minnesota project. The website provides access to basic information about the project, EIS status updates and documents, fact sheets to help explain the process and summarize complex issues, and proposer-developed data and studies that have been submitted for Minnesota DNR review. Project updates are available through the News tab.

If you would like to receive email updates on the environmental review process please sign up with your email address.