PolyMet Mining Corp. has hired a former commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to help win environmental approval for its proposed copper mine near Babbitt, Minn.

The company announced Monday that Brad Moore, who served as MPCA commissioner in 2006-2008, has been appointed executive vice president for environmental and governmental affairs.

Moore, who had a long career in government, including at the state Department of Natural Resources, offers "a unique perspective that will be extremely valuable as we complete environmental review and move into permitting our project," LaTisha Gietzen, PolyMet's vice president of public, governmental and environmental affairs, said in a news release.

Moore was working in a government affairs job for Barr Engineering, a Minneapolis firm that does mining industry consulting work. Gietzen said Moore's knowledge of the project will help move it forward.

Moore said he believed PolyMet "can provide essential minerals each of us uses every day, and we can demonstrate that non-ferrous mining can be done in a way that meets Minnesota's high environmental standards."

The proposed $600 million mine for copper, nickel and precious metals remains under environmental review after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared the work flawed last year. Critics expressed concern about the mine's effects on rivers, wild rice and habitat for lynx and wolves. Earlier this month, environmental groups sued to block a $4 million state loan to the project.

PolyMet recently got fresh capital from Glencore, a privately held Swiss mining company that will own nearly 15 percent of the company.

David Shaffer • 612-673-7090