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Talon Metals Mining

Rio TInto/Kennecott/Talon Metals Mining Company has been drilling core samples near Tamarack since 2000 to assess the likelihood of copper/nickel mining in the Big Sandy Watershed.  

Concerns include: 

* Mining and processing copper/nickel ores releases sulfides into

  the environment, forming sulfuric acid which extracts toxic metals

  such as arsenic and mercury

* Sulfuric acid can be converted to sulfide by bacteria and dissolved

  organic carbon in the sediments of lakes, rivers and streams

* Sulfide reduces the germination of wild rice seeds resulting in a

  decrease or elimination of wild rice

* Mercury in water can be converted to methyl mercury, a known

  toxin that bio-accumulates in fish and that when consumed can

  cause brain damage and reduced intelligence

* The reaction of sulfides with iron phosphate in lake sediments

  may release soluble phosphate, a nutrient that causes excess

  algae and weed growth in lakes, streams and rivers.


Because a key objective of BSLA is “To advocate practices that protect and improve water quality,” BSLA’s position on potential mining in the watershed is to support a stringent sulfate standard for water discharges with financial assurances and strict adherence to all permit requirements.  Metal mining has a history of causing pollution for many decades following closure. Financial assurances are needed to treat water discharges and leachates following closure.

For additional information on copper/nickel mining in Minnesota  and related news articles see

For information on Rio Tinto/ Kennecott/Talon Metals activities    

in the Tamarack area see

For information about the effects of sulfide on wild rice production see 

Protecting Wild Rice from Excess Sulfate.

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