Ancient copper mines in Wales (
by Dan Burns
Jun 28, 2023, 6:00 PM

About that Musk mine – Part 2

Part 1 here. When I posted that, in February 2022, interested parties were taking more of a cautious, wait-and-see position. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has since noted very serious concerns.

Talon Metals’ recent announcement that it intends to move components of its nickel processing operations to North Dakota acknowledges the risks that this proposed mine poses to our community and land. We assert that mining is not the only option to source the nickel needed to produce electric vehicle batteries, and do not believe that it should ever be the first option. And a change in location for processing ore does not eliminate our continuing concerns about the impact that a Minnesota nickel mine, including its extraction and transportation activities, will have on the environment, surrounding communities, and our Band’s cultural practices.

Talon Metals still has not provided data to verify its claims of experience with responsible mining practices. It has not yet revealed its mining plan details. It has not yet submitted an Environmental Review. It has not yet applied for or received a permit to develop the Tamarack Nickel Mine. Accordingly, we caution against advancing plans without proper due diligence and full documentation. We will not tolerate any risks to our land, water, wild rice, or people.
(Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe)

Talon Metals began the permit application process last week. Here is a good overview, from MinnPost. And before that, a number of the state’s environmental advocacy organizations essentially came out in opposition to the project. Including some of the same organizations that have played key roles in killing the Twin Metals proposal, and that may indeed be on the verge of doing so to PolyMet. (Due to a recent merger PolyMet is NewRange, now. I suppose they’ll need to come up with new, though no doubt equally odious, TV commercials for the state high school sports tournaments. In any case most activists are still calling it PolyMet, which works for me.)

A few things:

– I blogged here about how nickel is actually going out of style as a component of electric vehicle batteries. Indeed, and contrary to the claims of industry flacks, there is no indication of prices spiking to the stratosphere and thereby killing the EV industry unless we start digging vast quantities of nickel ore, wherever it might be found. The March 2022 price spike was very short-lived.

Talon stock is traded on the Toronto exchange. When I wrote Part 1, a share could be had for 54 cents. Yesterday it was at 26 cents. Out of politeness, or rather compassion, I’ll forbear to comment further on that.

– Since we sure as heck can’t expect the likes of the StarTribune to do so, I’m noting that Rio Tinto (the mining multinational and real backer of Talon) is just as horrifically awful in every way as Glencore and Antofagasta are. That’s not a matter of opinion. It is cold, hard, objective fact. And it goes back decades.

Presumably we’ll see the same righteous playbook as has worked before, and is working now. Namely, court challenges and public advocacy. Any kind of support for the latter can only help. If this does get much further, we can’t count on Talon’s people racking up the same wretched set of pathetic blunders, through the permitting process and in other ways, that the PolyMet folks did.

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