The Myth of Clean Mining in Minnesota


Can copper-sulfide mining be done safely near the Boundary Waters?

Is there such a thing as clean mines?

The mining industry and their allies often claim that copper-sulfide mining — the most toxic industry in the United States, which has a perfect record of polluting — can safely operate in a water-rich environment like northeastern Minnesota.  

That’s quite the claim.

But where is the proof?

More than polished talking points or spin, we simply want proof of a “clean mine.”

This is the commonsense logic behind the Prove It First Bill, which simply states that before a sulfide mine can operate in Minnesota, there must be independent proof that at least one mine in the United States has operated for ten years without causing pollution and at least one has been closed for ten years without causing pollution.

No proof, no mine. It’s that simple.

To no surprise, the mining industry has pushed back against this law. At the same time, the industry, as well as pro-mining groups, have pointed to a handful of sulfide mines that have supposedly met this standard. Some of these mines were formally proposed as examples of mines that could meet the Prove It First standard when Prove It First was the law in Wisconsin (it was repealed by Governor Scott Walker in 2018).

Recently, a new study was conducted to evaluate these “clean mining” claims. Again, we are looking for scientific proof, scientific evidence — not rhetoric market tested by the mining industry.

In the attached study, which you are free to download, read and distribute, you can read the results of this study.

We also made an easy-to read factsheet to help you with the most crucial findings in this study.

These materials will be valuable in evaluating the question: Is copper-sulfide mining worth the risk?

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