PolyMet's NorthMet Mining Project

PolyMet's proposed plant site

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Poly Met Mining, Inc. (PolyMet) is proposing to develop a mine and associated processing facilities for the extraction of copper, nickel, and platinum group elements (PGE) in northeastern Minnesota. The mine will be the first of its kind in the state.



Before proceeding with the proposed NorthMet Mining Project, PolyMet must obtain a number of required permits and approvals. For this project the DNR is responsible for the following state permits and approvals:

Permit to Mine, Wetland Replacement Plan, Water Appropriation Permit, Dam Safety Permit, Burning Permit, Endangered Species Taking Permit, and Permit for Work in Public Waters

The DNR has now issued PolyMet’s Permit to Mine, Wetland Replacement Plan, Water Appropriation, Dam Safety, Endangered Species Taking Permit, and Public Waters Work permits. You can find these permits, along with supporting documentation, using the navigation menu above or below.

Permit to Mine »
Water Appropriation Permit »
Dam Safety Permit »
Other DNR Permits »


What's next in the permitting process?

Click on the image for a full size color PDF describing the upcoming steps in the DNR's permitting process:

NorthMet DNR Permit Processes Timeline

View permitting timeline as text   »


Environmental Review Process

Prior to the current permitting phase, the proposed NorthMet Mining Project went through an extensive environmental review process. PolyMet submitted its initial project proposal to the DNR in February 2005. In accordance with state and federal laws, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was prepared under the leadership of the DNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The Final EIS was deemed adequate by the DNR in March 2016 marking the end of the state’s environmental review process. On January 9, 2017, the USFS signed the Final Record of Decision authorizing a land exchange with PolyMet. This exchange will transfer the surface property owned by the Forest Service to PolyMet, who controls the sub-surface (mineral) rights. The land exchange is presently being challenged in federal lawsuits. EIS decisions for the USACE are still pending.

Environmental review webpage »


Project location

The NorthMet Mining Project will be located in the St. Louis River watershed on the eastern edge of the Mesabi Iron Range, about 6 miles south of Babbitt.

map of sites


Partner links

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency »
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) »
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) »