PolyMet Mining Corp., the St. Paul company planning a copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota, earlier this month received a new infusion of capital from global mining giant Glencore PLC.
Glencore, which has financially supported PolyMet since 2008 chiefly through debt purchases, on June 2 paid $14 million for a new round of secured debentures. PolyMet uses the money for its general operating expenses.
Glencore provided PolyMet with $33 million via debt purchases last year. PolyMet's monthly spending, or burn rate, has typically been in the $2 million to $3 million range. The company's spending on the environmental review of its mine proposal has fallen as that process nears an end. Its spending on permitting is rising, a spokesman said.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in March issued a 3,500-page environmental impact statement for the proposed mine near Hoyt Lakes, setting the stage for the permitting process to begin. A 30-day comment period passed without any legal challenges to the DNR impact statement.
Gov. Mark Dayton at the time said the "real decisionmaking process begins now" for the prospective mine, which is expected to employ around 350 people. Dayton has not decided whether to support it.
PolyMet plans to spend $650 million to build the open-pit mine, which would be Minnesota's first for copper, nickel and other precious metals. Mining in the state's Iron Range typically produces taconite, used in making steel.
Federal reviews and court challenges are still underway, and the company and state are discussing long-term financial protections that PolyMet must develop to cover the costs if an environmental disaster were to occur.
In its latest financial report, issued Wednesday for the three months ended April 30, PolyMet reported a loss of $2.35 million compared to a loss of $3.6 million in the same period a year ago.
Through April 30, the company had spent about $108 million on the environmental review and permitting process, which began a decade ago.