FAQ

  • What is Twin Metals Minnesota?

    Twin Metals Minnesota is a Minnesota mining company focused on developing and operating an underground copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, gold and silver mining project in the Iron Range region of northeast Minnesota. Twin Metals Minnesota is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Antofagasta plc, one of the top ten copper producers in the world.  The TMM Project has the potential to create more than a thousand construction jobs during a projected three-year construction phase, and hundreds of long term mining jobs for generations of Minnesotans.

  • Why mine strategic metals in Minnesota?

    Minnesota is home to the Duluth Complex in northeast Minnesota, one of the largest untapped copper, nickel, and platinum group metals (PGM) resources in the world. Current estimates are that the Duluth Complex contains more than 4 billion tons of copper, nickel and PGM resources. Domestic and international demand for copper, nickel and PGMs is projected to grow steadily over the long term, positioning Minnesota to be a world leader in supplying these critical strategic metals.

  • How will the TMM Project’s strategic metals help the economy?

    The TMM Project’s end-product metals are critical to our national economy, as they are necessary components of everyday products such as cell phones, computers, electrical wiring, engines, environmental protection products such as catalytic converters, and many more. In addition, these metals are essential for modern “green energy” products such as wind turbines, solar panels and long-life batteries for electric cars.

  • Where is the proposed TMM Project?

    The TMM Project is located in the Iron Range region of northeast Minnesota, approximately nine miles southeast of Ely, Minnesota, and 11 miles northeast of Babbitt, Minnesota, within the world-class mineral resource known as the Duluth Complex.

  • At What Stage of Development is the TMM Project?

    The TMM Project is in early stages of development, and a formal mining project proposal has not been finalized. TMM completed a Prefeasibility Study (PFS) for the TMM Project in mid-2014.

  • What is a prefeasibility study (PFS)?

    A PFS takes place in the early stages of a project’s development and examines mining concepts and a conceptual mine plan to establish a project’s initial technical, economic and environmental viability, and to serve as a foundation for further engineering, economic and environmental study. A PFS examines such issues as mine design, production rates, facility locations, transportation and transmission corridors, economic performance, job creation, and environmental impacts and controls. A PFS is an internal planning document.

  • Is information from the PFS available to the public?

    A draft National Instrument (NI) 43-101 Technical Report on the TMM Project PFS (PFS Technical Report) is available here. The independent PFS Technical Report was prepared by AMEC Inc. at the request of previous TMM joint venture partner, Duluth Metals Limited. The conclusions and opinions expressed in the PFS Technical Report are those of AMEC, arrived at independently of TMM or its ownership. The estimations set out in the PFS Technical Report for operating costs, commercial terms and metal price parameters are a result of AMEC’s independent evaluation of the TMM Project.

  • What is the key finding of the TMM Project PFS Technical Report?

    The PFS Technical Report confirms that the TMM Project’s PFS-level conceptual mine plan offers northeast Minnesota an extraordinary opportunity for long-term, environmentally-sound economic growth and job creation.

  • What Comes After A PFS?

    TMM is now studying in detail the findings of the PFS and reviewing the PFS-level conceptual mine plan for potential “optimizations” that would further improve the TMM Project. Changes to the PFS-level conceptual mine plan are likely as a result of this analysis. Over the long-term, TMM will develop and submit a formal mining project proposal to state and federal regulatory agencies for extensive environmental review.

  • How many jobs will the TMM Project create?

    The PFS Technical Report estimated that the TMM Project’s PFS-level conceptual mine plan would create approximately 850 full-time jobs when the mine is in operation and would generate some 12 million labor hours during a roughly three-year construction period. Based on an employment multiplier calculated in a December 2012 University of Minnesota-Duluth study on the economic impacts of proposed mining projects in Northeast Minnesota, the TMM Project would generate approximately 1,700-1,900 additional indirect jobs in the region’s economy.

  • Will the construction and mining jobs be union jobs?

    The status of unionization of the TMM Project labor force will be determined later in the project development effort and, in large part, will be determined by the work force itself. TMM respects the strong union history in northern Minnesota. We are grateful for the public support many unions have expressed for our project and our industry.

  • What is the general description of the TMM Project within the PFS Technical Report?

    The TMM Project PFS Technical Report is based on a conceptual 30-year underground mine plan focused on the development of the Maturi and Maturi SW mineral deposits, generating marketable copper and nickel concentrates. The PFS Technical Report conceptual mine plan configuration consists of four major facilities: the underground mine site, the concentrator site, the tailings storage facility (TSF) and utility corridors.

  • How were the PFS Technical Report mine plan facility locations selected?

    The facility locations described in the PFS Technical Report conceptual mine plan were identified based on sound environmental and economic principles, such as minimizing surface impacts, minimizing waste impacts, citing facilities near existing industrial areas and minimizing overall environmental impacts.

  • Where is the underground mine site and what facilities will be located there?

    The TMM Project underground mine site is located roughly nine miles southeast of Ely, Minnesota, and 11 miles northeast of Babbitt, Minnesota. To support the underground mine operation and reduce surface impacts, a variety of facilities would be constructed underground, including primary crushers, conveyors, pumping stations and electrical substations.

  • Will the underground mine be used to store waste material?

    Under the PFS-level conceptual mine plan, all waste rock generated from underground mining activity would be used as underground backfill. Similarly, approximately 50 percent of the tailings produced by the mining operation would be returned to the underground mine as paste backfill, reducing the overall surface impacts of the mining operations.

  • Where is the concentrator site and what facilities will be located there?

    A mine concentrator is the main facility for processing mineralized ore mined and capturing the valuable metals. In the TMM Project’s PFS-level conceptual mine plan, the concentrator site is approximately 2.5 miles west of the underground mine site and south of the Ely Airport. The concentrator site would include the concentrator plant, primary mine portal, temporary ore stockpiles and a process water pond.

  • Where is the tailings storage facility (TSF) and what facilities will be located there?

    Under the PFS-level conceptual mine plan, the TMM Project’s surface tailings storage facility (TSF) is located south of Babbitt, Minnesota, adjacent to the Peter Mitchell Mine. The TSF would store tailings material not returned to the underground mine. The TSF would also include a concentrate filtration plant, intermediate pond, electrical substation, and rail load-out facility.

  • Where will the utility corridors be located?

    Under the PFS-level conceptual mine plan, two projected utility corridors would connect the underground mine site to the concentrator site, and the concentrator site to the TSF. The utility corridors would serve multiple infrastructure needs, including transport of concentrate and tailings, water pipelines, service and contact roads, and a rail extension to an existing railroad.

  • What will it cost to build the TMM Project?

    The PFS Technical Report estimates that the initial capital investment to build the conceptual mine plan would be $2.77 billion. Over the first 30-year life of the conceptual mine, capital investment was estimated at $5.41 billion.

  • How will the TMM Project protect Minnesota’s environment?

    Twin Metals Minnesota is fully dedicated to protecting Minnesota’s wilderness, natural environment and recreational resources, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. TMM is committed to developing a modern, environmentally responsible and economically sustainable mine for Minnesota. TMM is working with federal and state agencies, local communities and private landowners to ensure timely and responsible development of this regional economic development opportunity. The TMM Project’s underground design and modern mining practices will support the long-term protection of Minnesota’s environment.

  • Will the Twin Metals Minnesota project be reviewed by environmental regulatory agencies?

    The TMM Project will be subject to rigorous and thorough environmental review by multiple state and federal agencies, such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and tribal governments. The environmental standards to which the TMM Project will be held – in water quality, air emissions, land protection and noise – are among the strictest laws and standards in the world. The TMM Project will need to meet or exceed those state and federal environmental standards, or it will not be allowed to move forward.

  • I am interested in a job when the mine opens. Are you taking applications?

    Though TMM has not yet reached the phase of large scale hiring for mine operations, TMM does occasionally have job openings to support project development. Job openings are posted and updated on the TMM website. If you are interested in future employment with TMM, please monitor the website.