The Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM) Project is focused on designing, constructing and operating an underground copper, nickel, platinum group metals and cobalt mine, and is committed to doing so in an environmentally friendly way. Located approximately nine miles southeast of the city of Ely, Minnesota, and 11 miles northeast of the city of Babbitt, Minnesota, the TMM Project targets the valuable minerals within the Maturi deposit, part of the Duluth Complex geologic formation.
TMM recently submitted a formal mine plan proposal, initiating a rigorous and thorough environmental review by multiple state and federal agencies as required by law.
If granted the opportunity to proceed, the TMM project will bring 700 direct full-time jobs and 1,400 spinoff jobs to residents of Ely, Babbitt and the greater northeast Minnesota community – a tremendous economic impact.
PROJECT HISTORY AND MILESTONES
- January 2010: After Duluth Metals Limited identified strategic metals deposits, the company formed a partnership with Antofagasta plc, one of the top 10 global copper producers, and together they founded Twin Metals Minnesota LLC.
- February 2011: Twin Metals Minnesota acquired Franconia Minerals Corporation, effectively doubling Twin Metals Minnesota’s mineral and land assets, providing the opportunity for greater efficiency and more jobs.
- May 2013: Twin Metals Minnesota unveiled the nearly 17,000-square-foot Core Storage Facility at its operational headquarters in Ely, Minnesota.
- January 2015: Antofagasta plc purchased Duluth Metals Limited in a friendly acquisition.
- July 2019: Twin Metals Minnesota announced it will use the environmentally friendly dry stack tailings storage method
- August 2019: Twin Metals Minnesota CEO Kelly Osborne signed a Project Labor Agreement with the Iron Range Building and Construction Trades Council
- Today: Twin Metals Minnesota is a wholly owned subsidiary of Antofagasta plc. Fifteen Minnesota-based employees support two offices in Ely and St. Paul, and through its project design activities, Twin Metals has supported as many as 200 consulting, contractor and spinoff jobs.
Twin Metals Minnesota is making significant progress in furthering the conceptual design of its underground mine project in northeast Minnesota. Underground mining operations allow for maximizing underground storage of waste rock and tailings, minimizing the impact of mining activities.
Current project configurations remain under study and will be refined before a formal mine plan proposal is submitted to state and federal regulatory agencies. Twin Metals can share the following updates to its planned proposal design based on ongoing engineering, environmental, economic and technical studies:
- Processing approximately 20,000 tons of mineralized ore per day using underground mining operations.
- Locating the processing site on about 100 acres of Twin Metals-owned land approximately one mile south of the underground mine site. The processing site would include access to the underground mine and activities related to recovering the target minerals from ore.
- Accessing the mine by tunnels at the processing site.
- Minimizing the impact of mining activity by using underground mining operations. This method would allow Twin Metals to mine without generating waste rock stockpiles and TMM would store about half of tailings as permanent cemented backfill in the underground mine.
- Twin Metals Minnesota will use the environmentally friendly dry stack method to manage the remaining tailings. Learn more about dry stack tailings storage.
- Testing shows the tailings would be non-acid generating. Extensive additional testing will be conducted under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and federal agencies.
- Opening a second regional office in Babbitt, Minnesota.
- Using existing roads near Babbitt where possible as the main traffic access to the mine site.
- Minimizing traffic and maximizing employment opportunities across the region by busing mine employees from both the Ely and Babbitt locations.
Twin Metals has been conducting environmental studies for more than seven years, and these efforts continue. Environmental data will be used to evaluate potential project impacts during the formal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process that will be conducted by state and federal agencies. Today’s environmental regulations tightly restrict how mines are designed and operated. State and federal agencies require strict adherence to regulations surrounding key environmental issues, including surface water and groundwater quality, threatened and endangered species, air quality, plant life, wetlands and more. The TMM Project must meet or exceed environmental requirements and receive permits to be authorized to move the project forward.