Other DNR Permits
PolyMet's NorthMet Mining Project

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Public Waters Work Permit

The DNR opened a 30-day public comment period on the draft public waters work permit for the proposed Poly Met Mining, Inc. (PolyMet) NorthMet mining project. The DNR Public Waters Work Permit Program applies to those lakes, wetlands, and streams identified on DNR Public Water Inventory maps. Proposed projects affecting the course, current, or cross-section of these water bodies may require a Public Waters Work Permit from the DNR and permits from other agencies.

Under Minnesota Statute 103G.245, Subdivision 1 (except as provided in Subdivisions 2, 11, and 12), the state, a political subdivision of the state, a public or private corporation, or a person, must have a DNR Public Waters Work Permit to:

  1. construct, reconstruct, remove, abandon, transfer ownership of, or make any change in a reservoir, dam, or waterway obstruction on public waters; or
  2. change or diminish the course, current, or cross section of public waters, entirely or partially within the state, by any means, including filling, excavating, or placing of materials in or on the beds of public waters.

The proposed NorthMet project would require a public waters work permit. In addition to this public waters work permit, the project would also need eleven additional DNR permits, as well as several other state, federal and local permits and approvals in order to proceed.

DNR has completed its comprehensive review of the company’s public waters work permit application. This draft permit is for a culvert extension to widen Dunka Road, the connecting road between the proposed NorthMet plant site and mine site.

DNR accepted written public comments on the draft dam safety permits from September 15, 2017 until October 16, 2017. This public comment period is now closed.

The current public comment opportunity concerned only the draft public waters work permit as well as the two draft dam safety permits. DNR’s review of PolyMet’s other pending applications – permit to mine, including financial assurance proposals and the wetland replacement plan – is ongoing.

PolyMet’s public waters work permit application along with DNR’s draft public waters work permit and fact sheet can be found below.


Where are we in the overall permitting process?

View timeline graphic (3 MB) »
View timeline text only (1 MB)   »


Draft Public Waters Work Permit and Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet - Draft Public Waters Work Permit Fact Sheet (1 MB) »


Public Waters Work Permit Applications