PolyMet Mining land exchange bill passes U.S. House, advances to Senate
PolyMet Mining announces that House Resolution 3115, the Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act of 2017, today passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a bipartisan 309 to 99 vote and advances to the Senate. The Forest Service authorized an administrative land exchange for the PolyMet Mining NorthMet Project in its Final Record of Decision January 9, 2017. The bipartisan bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-MN-8 in July, directs the secretary of agriculture to move forward with the land exchange between PolyMet and the U.S. Forest Service. In passing the legislation, the House ratifies the Forest Service's determination that the land exchange is in the best public interest. The bill calls for the exchange to be completed within 90 days of its enactment. "We are grateful to Rep. Nolan, the bill's co-sponsors, and House leadership for their efforts to move this legislation forward," said Jon Cherry, president and CEO. "While neither the legislative nor the administrative exchange would permit or approve construction of the mine, Congressional approval for the exchange provides certainty of process in developing the project by finalizing the land transfer." The terms of the land exchange proposed in the Superior National Forest Land Exchange Act of 2017 are the same as those found in the administrative land exchange: PolyMet receives approximately 6,650 acres of surface land above and around its NorthMet ore body near an area heavily used for mining and mine infrastructure; in exchange, the Superior National Forest receives four parcels of land totaling 6,690 acres currently owned or controlled by PolyMet that will become part of the Superior National Forest. The difference is that the $425,000 equalization payment owed PolyMet by the Forest Service as a result of the administrative exchange would be waived by the company in the legislative exchange.