Minnesota’s rules for nonferrous mining (which means mining that is different than iron or taconite mining) were created in 1993. Modern science now tells us that they are inadequate to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) from sulfide-ore copper mining in the Rainy River Headwaters, from which mining pollution could flow into the Wilderness. As a result of a recent lawsuit in state court, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was ordered to examine its nonferrous mining rules.
The Boundary Waters is America's most visited Wilderness. Its 1.1 million acres contain more than 1,000 pristine lakes and 1,200 miles of river and stream. Priceless and irreplaceable, the BWCAW must not be put at risk of perpetual pollution from the most toxic industry in America.
We need you to speak up for reforming these mining rules by December 7.
The risks from nonferrous mining are vastly different from traditional iron mining. Nonferrous mining involves extracting trace amounts of copper, nickel, and other metals from sulfide-bearing ores. This process produces sulfuric acid, which is the same as battery acid. In addition to acidifying lakes and rivers, sulfuric acid leaches out toxic heavy metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic, and others from the rock, producing acid mine drainage (AMD). Sulfate discharge to very sensitive fresh waters, such as those found in northern Minnesota, also unleashes a cascade of damage to the ecosystem.
Unfortunately, the DNR is requiring a few steps in order to comment. Please take the extra steps needed to submit a comment as DNR needs to hear that the public wants the mining rules revised and the Boundary Waters protected from toxic mining. Feel free to copy and paste the suggested letter below, but use your own words where possible.
- Go to the DNR link: https://survey.mn.gov/s.asp?k=163595161979
- Accept DNR’s terms and hit “next” at the bottom of the page.
- Tell DNR you’re not a robot on the next page and hit “next” again.
- Enter your first and last name and hit “next”.
- Paste your comment and hit “submit” at the bottom of the page.