Native American Gathering Challenges Mining Grant


One of six Native American clans, the Fond du Lac Band, which constitute the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, has challenged the state ecological organization over its issuing of a sanction for US Steel’s Minntac iron mine.

Agents of the Band have held up an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals, after the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) allowed an expansion to a sanction first made out in 1987, empowering tasks to initiate at the Minntac mine.

On the other hand, the Band trusts that the new sanction, drafted first in 2016, does exclude sufficiently strict provisos to keep the mine’s tailings from pretencing a health hazard.

The Band is especially worried about the discharge of sulfate into nearby water sources, comprising wild rice waters and groundwater that can possibly harm neighborhood rice crops and flora respectively.

During 2011, US Steel anticipated that sulfate concentration in the mine’s tailings will touch 1,018 mg/L (mg per liter) through 2033.

As an element of its sanction, the MPCA recognized that sulfate would be the contaminant of maximum concern to safety and health, and set a maximum limit on sulfate concentration in nearby water wellsprings of 357mg/L. The organization promised to supervise sulfate levels for a long time from the mine’s opening, and will consider pulling back the sanction should the density of sulfate transcend this level.

The Band trusts that this limit is both excessively high and excessively slackly authorized to guarantee public safety.

The MPCA detailed that the normal density of sulfate in Minnesota waters is only 19mg/L, permitting the Minntac mine to surpass the normal sulfate level by in excess of 15 times and even be well inside its sanction. The MPCA additionally did not demand any prompt changes as a component of the re-established permit, rather demanding that US Steel brings down the dimensions of sulfate in the mine’s tailings over 10 years from 2016. Band individuals expect this could prompt critical ecological harm in the immediate term.

The Minntac mine has a yearly generation of about 16 Mn tons of iron metal pellets, mined from taconite, an iron-bearing rock, which is handled on-site.

The mine is one of two in the district possessed by US Steel, close by the Keetac task that generates 6 Mn tons of pellets every year.                                              

Robert Lewis

Robert graduated from Brandman University, where he got his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Born in Massachusetts, Robert’s family moved to Kentucky in 2005 where he spent his college life and worked as an insurance agent for four years. Now is the founder and team leader of the website.

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