Kentucky miners (
by Steve Timmer
Sep 12, 2013, 4:30 PM

Sulfide mining stories reprise

I’ve written quite often about the emerging threats to Minnesota’s clean water and northern Minnesota recreation called PolyMet and Twin Metals. The genesis of a lot of the stories here on sulfide mining is Mining Truth, an organization of non-profit activist organizations, including the Friends of the Boundary Waters. Aaron Klemz, who used to write here before the Friends snatched him away, is the communications director for the Friends of the Boundary Waters. He used to cover this beat when he wrote for Left.MN.

The Twitter accounts of both organizations (@MiningTruth and @FriendsBWCAW) are full of interesting links to the environmental, financial, and social costs of sulfide mining, around the country and the world. I don’t know of a better way to stay current on the issue.

You might also go over to Mining Truth and check out the petition to Governor Dayton asking him to, in turn, ask important questions before any mining project can proceed. Well, not only check it out, but sign it, too.

There are other organization involved the effort to raise the issue of the danger of sulfide mining in the mind of the public. I will mention some of them in future stories. What I set out to do here, though, is provide a list of stories that I have written on the sulfide mining issue since the beginning of July, just in case you missed any of ’em.

July 6th – Why bother?, a story about a federal and state initiative to clean up the St. Louis River Estuary to Lake Superior, which is downstream, of couse, from the proposed PolyMet open pit mine.

July 9th – Protecting Brimstone Mountain, a story about the giant sulfide waste rock pile that PolyMet would, well, pile up, a pile that is estimated to leach sulphuric acid run off for two hundred years.

July 11th – Protecting Brimstone Mountain 2, a story about the above-mentioned petition to the governor.

July 12th – What lies — not very far — beneath, a story about how Twin Metals is touting the shallow copper deposits near Ely and the BWCAW, in spite of the fact that it swears it is only going to operate an underground mine.

July 16th – Mommy, what that noise I hear in the ground?, a follow up to the previous story.

July 17th – Perpetual Care is a story, with a great Avidor graphic, about the long term environmental costs of sulfide mines long after they are closed.

July 18th – An ensemble Spotty™ award, given for a letter to the editor stating that mining would result in “receiving pennies on the dollar from outsiders and colonizers.”

July 19th – Colonizing Ely, a story following up on the Spotty™ winner above.

July 22nd – How would you like this guy gurgling through you camp?, about the sulfide water runoff from mining exploration thirty years ago near Spruce Road and Birch Lake (Ely area).

July 23rd – From a gleam in a miner’s eye, a story about how one sulfide mine in South Carolina went from first shovel in the ground to Super Fund site in eighteen years, fast work, even for a mine.

July 24th – They’ve been mining in Appalachia forever, asking the obvious question: why aren’t these people all rich?

July 25th – Kiss the loons goodbye, a story about how little pollution it would take for loons and other flora and fauna to disappear from our northern acidic lakes, including the lakes of the BWCAW.

July 26th – The Commish mines him some bulls**t, about DNR Commissioner Landwehr’s swing through Minnesota touting mining and minimizing the risks of it.

July 28th – The Commish mines him some bulls**t Part II, following up on the previous story and describing how the Commissioner apparently believes in the Miracle of the Immaculate Extraction.

July 29th – Glencore: corporate citizen, a story about how Glencore, a Swiss mining conglomerate, and the big mining company behind PolyMet, was giving Montana the runaround about an abandoned aluminum plant that many people there think should be a Superfund site.

July 29th – Glencore: corporate citizen Part II, a follow up to the previous item.

July 31st – Trouble in the Grotto, about the violations of the Clean Water Act by a closed mine in Wisconsin that was supposed to be proof of the Miracle of the Immaculate Extraction. I especially recommend this one.

August 5th – Little mine problems, a follow up to Trouble in the Grotto.

August 27th – Hey Ruk! Just look around!, a story quoting former representative Tom Rukavina’s braggadocio about how mining interests would muscle the issue through politically.

September 1st – The forces of grievance and resentment weigh in, about a poisonous and insulting commentary in the Strib by an Ely resident.

Well, that’s all, for now.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.