Talon Metals submits plan for proposed nickel mine in Minnesota

June 21, 2023

Talon Metals Corp. has submitted its Environmental Assessment Worksheet to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to begin the state’s Environmental Impact Statement scoping process for the Tamarack Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Project, an underground mine in Northern Minnesota. The proposed mine is a small-footprint, high-grade underground nickel mine that would be located near the City of Tamarack in Aitkin County, Minnesota.

“Our team in Tamarack is excited to have reached the milestone of submitting the initial worksheet form to begin Minnesota’s Environmental Review process, the starting point for any project seeking a permit in the state,” Henri van Rooyen, CEO of Talon said in a statement. "We have worked very hard and invested millions of dollars to understand the environment and cultural resources in the area where we are proposing the Tamarack Nickel Project outside the City of Tamarack. Environmental data collection started in 2006 and today includes data from the deep bedrock where the high-grade nickel deposit is found, to the surface water in the glacial till layer that contains wetlands, streams, rivers, lakes and homestead wells. This baseline data has helped the team to design the proposed project to safeguard the environment.”

Last year, Talon signed a memorandum of understanding with Telsa to supply roughly half the nickel it produces to the automaker for its electric vehicle batteries.

Like other projects in Minnesota, this one will likely receive heavy scrutiny. Two other copper-nickel mines in Minnesota, The NorthMet project  and Twin Metals Minnesota have both been stalled in recent months.

The Tamarack project would have an 80-acre footprint on the surface that would include an access portal to the underground mine, temporary storage for ore and waste rock, and facilities to collect and treat water. The project would mine ore-bearing rock containing nickel and other precious metals at depths of approximately 500-2,000 feet below the surface. Mined rock would be transported by rail to a processing facility in Mercer County, ND. Disposal of waste tailings would also occur at the Mercer County facility. Per the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act, the proposed Project requires preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), with the DNR as the designated responsible governmental unit.

“We understand that Minnesotans have widely differing perspectives regarding this proposed project and nonferrous mining more broadly. The DNR, however, must base its decisions on the facts and the law,” said Katie Smith, director of the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division. “I want to assure all Minnesotans that the DNR is committed to a rigorous, transparent, and neutral review of the project, based on science and applicable state law.”

“Today’s announcement by Talon Metals marks a key milestone in Minnesotans showcasing their dedication to a clean energy future powered with domestic minerals. Our state is committed to clean car standards and clean energy goals that are dependent upon reliable, sustainably developed sources of nickel, cobalt, copper, and iron, which would all be provided with the development of the Tamarack Nickel Project,” Julie Lucas, Executive Director of Mining Minnesota said in a statement. “Community engagement and collaboration create stronger projects, both socially and environmentally, and Talon Metals has consistently demonstrated its promise to their neighboring community. The project that has been proposed today is the result of years of discussions and an open-door policy that have collectively shaped project design. Domestic mining projects provide valuable opportunities for meaningful cooperation between all necessary stakeholders, which we do not have when we choose as a nation to source our minerals, such as nickel, from Indonesia or Russia. “


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