HOYT LAKES, Minn. — A pair of deals with nearly half of the iron chain’s known copper-nickel holdings joined forces on Wednesday, when Minnesota-based PolyMet and Canada-based Teck Resources announced a joint venture , NewRange Copper Nickel.
The agreement will place each company’s copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum resources under single management, with plans to further develop PolyMet’s proposed first copper-nickel mine on the Iron Range, called the NorthMet mine. .
Teck’s holdings are linked to what is called the Mesaba project. Measured resources to date between the parties consist of 795 million tonnes for NorthMet and 1,740 million tonnes for Mesaba, with combined estimated resources almost double.
As part of the deal, Swiss mining giant Glencore will retain its majority stake in PolyMet.
Jon Cherry, president and CEO of PolyMet, hailed the news as the creation of a world leader in Minnesota, which he said was able to provide a supply chain for clean energy technologies.
“This extraordinary venture combines the expertise, experience and financial resources of PolyMet, Teck and Glencore to develop the NorthMet mine when the remaining permitting procedures are complete and to study mine development options for Mesaba,” Cherry said in a statement. a press release on Wednesday. “The total assets of the NorthMet and Mesaba deposits make them one of the largest clean energy mineral resources in the United States and globally.”
As part of the deal, Glencore has agreed to fund PolyMet’s share of costs and expenses up to $105 million, the press release said.
Cherry noted what he called “synergies” created by joining forces. Additionally, independent financial advisers sought by PolyMet reportedly said the transaction would be “fair” from a financial perspective. Cherry cited Teck’s strong balance sheet.
“This joint venture will benefit all of our shareholders,” Cherry said. “The successful completion of this transaction is expected to more than double the resources attributable to PolyMet shareholders.”
The transaction has been unanimously approved by PolyMet’s Board of Directors.
PolyMet is in the process of subjecting its proposed mine to federal and state environmental review processes and a federal land exchange. The NorthMet mine has received nearly two dozen state and federal permits needed to build and operate a 32,000 ton per day mine and processing facility outside of Hoyt Lakes. Three permits are awaiting final resolution to reach project approval, the company said.
According to the press release, Teck’s Mesaba project is progressing with baseline environmental studies, resource definition and mineral processing studies.
“Additional studies and community and tribal consultation will be required to fully define the potential for long-term development,” the press release said.