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Minnesota’s Environment….what government doesn’t tell you about the effects of mining

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Minnesota’s Environment

Sulfide mining produces toxic waste that could irreversibly damage Minnesota’s fragile lakes, rivers and natural resources.

This is not our grandparents’ iron mining — sulfide mining has never been done in Minnesota. While iron mines have significant environmental challenges of their own, the sulfuric acid that is produced with sulfide mining makes it particularly difficult to avoid polluting nearby lakes, streams and ground water.

Acid Mine Drainage

When water and air mix with the waste from iron mining, rust is produced. But when the same process happens with sulfide mining, sulfuric acid is created. When this acid dissolves rock and leaches out toxic heavy metals, the substance is commonly called “Acid Mine Drainage.”

When water and air mix with iron mining waste, you get rust. With sulfide mining, sulfuric acid is produced.

Acid Mine Drainage has devastated water bodies in many states where this type of mining has occurred. It kills fish, wildlife and plants, leaving lakes, rivers and streams devoid of most living creatures.

Effects on people, water and wildlife

Humans
Mining by-products such as arsenic, manganese and thallium, have been shown in high levels to increase the risk of cancer and other illnesses in humans. Because mining takes place below the water table, it’s easy for contamination to leach out of the mine into groundwater, threatening drinking water supplies and health. More about risks to human health… More

An Open Letter to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, the Minnesota EPA, the PCA, the DNR and Every Thinking Minnesota Citizen:

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By Gary G. Kohls, MD

 

PolyMet and the Rest of the Copper/Nickel Mining Industry are Lying to Us About the Safety of its Proposed Operations in NE Minnesota
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Attention: Governor Dayton (and your staff):

Knowing your innate sense of fairness and your sincere desire to do the right thing for the people of Minnesota, please take a few minutes (disregarding all the corporate lobbyists that are bugging you 24/7) and read the following items. Be sure to view a couple of the short videos.

It has been slightly over a year since North America’s worst mining waste disaster occurred at Mount Polley, British Columbia.

It was on August 4, 2014 that the Imperial Metals mine had its massive tailings dam burst, polluting aquifers, many streams and lakes and ultimately the migratory Sockeye salmon-bearing Fraser River, the longest river in British Columbia. The Fraser flows for 854 miles emptying into the Georgia Strait and the Pacific Ocean at the city of Vancouver.

Typical for such catastrophic mining industry failures, the Harper government of Canada tried to cover up the disaster and most of us on either side of the border were made unaware of the event. Thus, this disaster was censored out of both Canadian and American consciousness by a co-opted media that utterly failed to adequately report on it.

Immediately below are the links to two dramatic videos that were readily available to news agencies, but which were essentially not reported on, published or shown on the evening news of either local or mainstream media outlets (including Duluth’s own WDIO-TV, which has regular promotional blurbs for the mining industry on its evening newscasts).
Imperial Metals of Vancouver admitted that they had been dumping the following toxic metals into the Mount Polley slurry (aka “slime”) pond in the years leading up to the failure of the earthen dam. The list of toxic substances immediately below is taken from Environment Canada’s website

The list of metallic contaminants that were dumped in the tailings pond includes: Lead, Arsenic, Nickel, Zinc, Cadmium, Vanadium, Antimony, Manganese, and Mercury.

These 9 heavy metal contaminants in the slurry at Mount Polley are highly toxic and have no safe levels in drinking water or in the human or animal body. They are also lethal to plant life.
Imperial Metals also admitted to dumping the somewhat less toxic minerals into the tailings pond. That group included Zinc, Cobalt, Copper, Phosphorus and Selenium, minerals can be beneficial to living organisms, but only in nano- or micro- concentrations. All five are toxic in large concentrations.

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