Teck Resources has announced an agreement with PolyMet Mining Corp to form a 50:50 joint venture to advance PolyMet’s NorthMet Project and Teck’s Mesaba mineral deposit, both located in the Iron Range of Minnesota, USA.
The joint venture will be named NewRange Copper Nickel LLC, with Glencore plc retaining its majority equity interest in PolyMet and providing financial support for its share of the funding commitment to the joint venture.
“The NewRange Copper Nickel joint venture brings together two large, well defined mineral resources in the established Iron Range mining region of Minnesota,” Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck, said. “This agreement will help unlock a new domestic supply of critical metals for the low-carbon transition through responsible mining.”
Closing of the transaction will be subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of all required regulatory approvals.
The NorthMet project is near both existing and closed iron ore mines and utilises existing brownfield tailings storage and plant locations to minimise environmental impact. NorthMet is expected to produce 29,000 t/d of over a 20-year permitted mine life, with first production targeted for 2026. Over its first full five years of operations, NorthMet is expected to deliver annual payable production of 30,000 t of copper, 3,600 t of nickel, 58,000 oz of palladium, and 12,000 oz of platinum.
Earlier this year, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed nearly all aspects of the water discharge permit for the NorthMet project, overruling six of the seven challenges to the permit made by mining opponents and paving the way for the “reactivation” of this key permit, PolyMet Mining Corp Chairman, President and CEO, Jon Cherry, said at the time.
The Mesaba mineral deposit, in the Duluth Complex near the NorthMet project, contains one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-nickel resources, according to Teck. While further studies and community consultations are required to fully define the long-term development potential, Mesaba represents a strategic metal resource for North America, it added.