Toxic Copper Mine Tailings Ponds to be Located Upstream from the St Louis River and Lake Superior

SOURCE:  PPJ Gazette


By Gary Kohls

Requesting honest information from the Minnesota DNR, the Minnesota PCA and the US Forest Service regarding the latest PolyMet project permit application:

Please respond to the concerned folks to which this email has been cc’ed, all the details of the permit that the foreign corporation Glencore has submitted to the MNDNR, MNPCA, or US Forest Service concerning the establishment and maintainance of their enormously dangerous, potentially catastrophic, toxic tailings lagoon, an entity that seems to have been conveniently ignored by the media cheerleaders and even you regulatory entities.

I don’t recall seeing any permit application published for the eventual 250 foot high earthen dams that will hold back for eternity the tens of millions of cubic meters of poisonous liquid sludge that the copper/nickel/sulfuric acid mine will inevitably produce (and need to be stored).

Anybody with any awareness of the risks of the toxic metal and sulfuric acid recognizes that the tailings lagoon MUST be the center of discussion. So far it is rarely mentioned in the occasional news bulletins.

Every copper/nickel liquid tailings pond holds the 99.8% mine waste plus the liquids that is used to pipe the dissolved powder from the processing plant to the pond.

Every copper/nickel sulfide mine in the history of mining has leaked/leached poisons into the groundwater, onto adjacent lands and into the downstream environment. This happens at all copper mine sites that are located in watery environments such as northern Minnesota.

Just read the history of the first ancient copper/sulfide mine at Rio Tinto, Spain. Hundreds of years after these ancient mines closed, the mine area, including the downstream areas is still uninhabitable, the water is undrinkable and the downstream area is essentially incompatible with life. The pH of the immediate downstream rivers remains at 2.5 even hundreds of years after the mine was closed!

I invite everybody concerned to read the article that I wrote a few years ago about the Rio Tinto mining corporation’s oldest copper mine in Rio Tinto river area of Spain. It has been published on many websites around the world. The article is titled:“Rio Tinto (the River, the Mine and the Corporation): Still Polluting After All These Years”. The article is posted at:

An impressive rendering of another article that I wrote about the inevitable and eternal toxicity of copper mining can be found at

The Transcend Media version has many important videos about copper mining dangers, plus links to eyewitness accounts of the Mount Polley disaster, which could easily foreshadow what might easily happen to the St Louis River and downstream environs if copper mining in northeast Minnesota is allowed to proceed.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Gary G. Kohls, MD, the author of the Duluth Reader’s Duty to Warn weekly columns and a down-winder, down-streamer from Duluth, MN

3 comments on “Toxic Copper Mine Tailings Ponds to be Located Upstream from the St Louis River and Lake Superior

  1. Folks all over this country are making noise – Nebraska? the pipeline? Alaska the villages that are threatened by climate change & they have to go thru all these “procedures” in order to move their village? Sounds like the push to erase Native Americans – all of us – a second time. These copper mines that are so “necessary” – really?


    • Didn’t mean to say I’m a native American – just meant everyone of us is in some kind of danger from these chemicals or our natural resources!


  2. Yet another foreign-owned mine allowed to extract America’s natural resources?
    Important facts that the Public should know:

    PolyMet Mine Proposal

    PolyMet is a junior mining company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. The company has never operated a mine before, and is backed financially by the Swiss company Glencore.
    Glencore has a significant financial stake in the company, and has an exclusive agreement to sell the mine’s metals on the global commodities market.

    While PolyMet doesn’t have a track record to consider, Glencore does.
    The company was founded by Marc Rich, the financier embroiled in scandal and pardoned by President Bill Clinton. T
    he company has been implicated in
    HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES around the world.

    The Chairman of the Glencore board of directors is
    former BP CEO TONY HAYWARD, the man who was in charge when the DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL RIG caused the largest oil spill in history in the Gulf of Mexico. He was made infamous for saying how he would “like his life back” while the water was being polluted and whole communities were being devastated by the spill.


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