Let’s talk about Twin Metals latest public relations movement
Regarding the recent MinnPost article, “Twin Metals says it will use a fleet of electric vehicles; opponents are not influenced “:
Let’s not be fooled by this publicity stunt.
First of all, it should be remembered that metal mining is the most polluting industry in the United States. Forty-four percent of all chemical pollution from industry comes from metal mining, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, research published in Nature found that emissions from the primary production of minerals and metals make up about 10% of total global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s getting worse and worse. Due to the drop in ore grade, copper mining is becoming more and more energy intensive. From 2001 to 2017 in Chile, the headquarters of Antofagasta, the mining conglomerate that owns Twin Metals, electricity consumption increased by 32% per unit of copper mined.
A diversion of a threat to water quality
On this stage comes Twin Metals with its tired campaign to convince the Minnesotans that it will open a non-polluting mine. His most recent stunt on this comes in the form of a press release announcing that he will be using electric vehicles. Much like shouting “squirrel” at a dog, the hope is that shouting “electric vehicles” will make us forget what science says and that disturbing fact that every copper sulfide mine that has ever been mined has. polluted surrounding water systems.
A water-rich environment like northeastern Minnesota would be particularly vulnerable. With or without electric vehicles, pollution from Twin Metals would spread to the surrounding waters, polluting a national treasure that is home to one of the cleanest waters in the country.
As one Twitter user put it, it’s like drinking motor oil from a reusable straw.
Reason to be skeptical
There is reason to be skeptical of the Twin Metals announcement. Will it really become electric? To my knowledge, Twin Metals has not amended its mine operating plan to include electric vehicles, it has not entered into a legally binding agreement, signed agreements with suppliers, specified how much of the fleet will be electric, or how it will build the infrastructure to support an electric fleet.
The largest eyebrow lift in the room came up with the claim that Twin Metals could be a carbon neutral lead. Such a statement was not surprising, given that Twin Metals made it a policy of fairytale statements aimed at the environmental crowd. One of the best is that the mine will not produce any acid mine drainage.
Twin Metals’ attempt to distract us with well-placed reports on electric vehicles and the promise of a pollution-free, carbon-neutral mine is a rhetorical trick meant to distract us from the science and naively allow this toxic industry to operate at the limit of the boundary waters.
Clean, fresh water is becoming a rarity. With some of the country’s cleanest waters at stake, the people of Minnesota can’t afford to fall for Twin Metals hollow promises.
Pete Marshall is the Communications Director of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
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