Mining company will build ore processing plant closer to wilderness area than originally promised
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Twin Metals says its updated plan for an underground copper-nickel mine near Ely includes an ore processing facility on the east bank of Birch Lake, which puts it closer to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness than earlier planned.
Environmental groups blasted Thursday's announcement from the company, saying the 100-acre (405,000 sq.-meter) facility would increase the threat to the wilderness because any polluted runoff from the site would be much closer to the Boundary Waters. Earlier versions of the plan put the processing site south of the Ely airport and west of Birch Lake, a location farther away from the mine itself. Birch Lake flows into the wilderness via the Kawishiwi River.