NorthMet copper/nickel/precious metals project, US – update

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24th February 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
NorthMet copper/nickel/precious metals project.

Near Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, in the US.

Project Owner/s
NewRange Copper and Nickel joint venture (JV), comprising PolyMet Mining Corp, Teck Resources and Glencore.

Project Description
NorthMet will be developed in two distinct phases.

Phase 1 involves the proposed development of 225-million tons – nearly one-third of NorthMet’s known resource – into an operating mine processing 32 000 t/d over a 20-year mine life. It also includes rehabilitating the former LTV Steel Mining Company processing plant.

Under Phase 1, which includes revenues based only on concentrate sales, payable metals in the concentrate are estimated at 1.1-billion pounds of copper, 133-million pounds of nickel, a combined 1.1-million ounces of platinum, palladium and gold, one-million ounces of silver and 5.6-million pounds of cobalt.

Phase 2 involves the proposed construction and operation of a hydrometallurgical plant to treat nickel sulphide concentrates into upgraded nickel/cobalt hydroxide, and recover additional copper and platinum-group metals.

Under Phase 2, payable metals in enriched cop­per concentrates and products from the hydro­­metallurgical plant are estimated at 1.2-billion pounds of copper; 174-million pounds of nickel; 1.6-million combined ounces of platinum, palladium and gold; one-million ounces of silver; and 6.2-million pounds of cobalt. Palladium is the predominant precious metals group product, totalling 1.2-million ounces.

NorthMet has proven and probable reserves of 290-million tons and a measured and indicated resource of 795-million tons.

Potential Job Creation
The project is expected to create more than 1 000 direct and spinoff jobs, and about two million-hours of construction labour.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a net present value, at a 7% discount rate, of $173-million for Phase 1 and $271-million including Phase 2.

The project has an internal rate of return of 9.6% for Phase 1 and 10.3% including Phase 2.

Capital Expenditure
Capital costs for Phase 1 are estimated at $945-million and include the refurbishment of the existing primary crushing circuit and replacing the existing rod and ball mill circuits with a new, modern semiautogenous grinding mill, ball mill and flotation circuit. It also includes rail upgrades, mining equipment and a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant.

Phase 2 will increase the project’s capital costs by about $259-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Not stated.

Latest Developments
The development of the NorthMet project is set to gain further momentum, with the project now under a new JV that links the expertise, experience and financial resources of PolyMet, Teck Resources and Glencore.

The owners have committed to an initial work programme of $170-million to maintain permits, update feasibility cost estimates, undertake detailed engineering to position NorthMet for a development decision following permit clearances, and advance Mesaba studies.

PolyMet has navigated the NorthMet project through the federal and state environmental review process and federal land exchange – a process that involved considerable public involvement and tribal consultation.

Three permits are pending final resolution of litigation and regulatory process to achieve final project approval.

Over its first full five years of operations, NorthMet is expected to deliver yearly payable production of 30 000 t of copper, 3 600 t of nickel, 58 000 oz of palladium, and 12 000 oz of platinum.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
Polymet Mining investor relations Tony Gikas, tel +1 651389 4110 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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