Proposed nickel mine in northern Minnesota continues to make national headlines
Joe Friedrichs
Outdoor News

Proposed nickel mine in northern Minnesota continues to make national headlines

Developers of a proposed nickel mine in northern Minnesota plan to move construction of its processing plant to North Dakota because of environmental concerns.

Talon Metals has been under pressure from environmental groups and the tribal bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa about a plan to build the processing plant in Tamarack, about 50 miles west of Duluth.

Todd Malan, a Talon executive, told WTIP that relocating the battery-minerals processing plant to North Dakota “would mean that we would only need to permit the mine and rail loading facility” in Minnesota.

“We will need to obtain both North Dakota permits and conduct a federal NEPA review for the facility in North Dakota,” he said.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden recently invoked the Defense Production Act in order to increase the mining of critical minerals that can be used to power electric vehicles. In doing so, Biden specifically referenced the Tamarack mine as a key component of the president’s vision toward changing what travels on America’s roadways.

The proposed mine continues to generate attention from media across the country, including recent reports in the New York Times, Forbes, and the Star Tribune

Malan told WTIP Oct. 25 that along with Michigan’s Eagle Mine, the Tamrack mine in Minnesota would be a key resource for domestic nickel.

The Tamarack mine would be developed by Talon Metals under the umbrella of the massive Rio Tinto mining company. In perhaps an even larger news item than the announcement from Biden, Tesla announced it intends to source nickel for electric vehicle batteries from the Minnesota mine. Tesla has committed to purchasing 75,000 metric tons of nickel concentrate over six years from planned mine. Talon hopes to open the mine by January 2026, but has not yet started the permitting process, the Associated Press reports. 

Talon is negotiating to buy an industrial brownsfield site in Mercer County, North Dakota. The company has received a $114 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for the project, the AP reports.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said Talon plans to create 150 jobs and invest $433 million in the plant, including the $114 million from the Department of Energy.

In other news about the mine, the company learned it is one of 21 mining projects selected by the Department of Energy to receive a piece of the $2.8 billion set aside through infrastructure legislation to support the acceleration of the electric vehicle industry in the U.S. The proposed Minnesota mine will receive about $114 million from the federal government to be used toward the project.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Malan Oct. 25 about the project. Audio below.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.