In the past, Polymet Ming Corp. has been highlighted as a long-term prospect as it moved through a difficult state permitting process. Today, as European bonds and certain countries cope with financial issues, commodity metals have shown themselves as a possible hedge. For Polymet Mining, this and other issues could not be more fortuitous as the state permitting process begins to come to a close and operational status looms. With this in mind, a quick update is due.

Polymet Mining Corp., a development stage precious metals mining company, works to discover, develop and market precious metals. The company is currently following through on a large nickel-copper, gold project in north-eastern Minnesota with plans to commence operations in 2010.

Understanding the nature of the company’s efforts and how they are approaching the project is the key to profit. The company has been working diligently on all aspects of the project so that it is ready when the Minnesota State Senate approves the environmental aspects of the project. In a certain sense, this is the key to the project as Minnesota is one of the more stringent environmental regulators in the US and aware of all aspects associated with mining projects environmental and otherwise.

In this regard, the company has submitted a comprehensive environmental plan, to include tailing pit data, canvassed in-place workers from a shuttered iron ore processing plant, acquired and renovated an iron ore processing facility and signed contracts with one of the world’s leading metal products marketing firms for 100% rights to buy its ore. Further, the company is optimistic enough about receiving permits to have started longer lead-time purchases for an efficient start-up process.
The current environmental permitting process is quickly coming to a close. Typically, this permit is set in 20 year intervals with the company anticipating 11 million tons of ore per year to be extracted and processed with a reserve estimate of approximately 274 million tons. Grading of this reserve estimates are 0.28% copper, 0.08% nickel and 0.01 oz./t of precious metals.

Although starting an open pit mining operation in Minnesota is not one of the easier projects a company might undertake, the history of the region is more than a passing consideration as its “iron range” nickname indicates. The region has infrastructure in place, a skilled workforce to support it and a positive feeling toward more skilled jobs in the region. As uncertainty continues in foreign bond circles, and this operation comes closer to turning its mills on, a closer look seems wise sooner rather than later.