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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 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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