NewRange Copper Nickel holds both the NorthMet and Mesaba copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum group metal (PGM) deposits which are said to contain around one-half of the known mineral resources in Duluth Complex

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PolyMet and Teck Resources establish new JV. (Credit: Zac Edmonds on Unsplash)

PolyMet Mining (PolyMet) and Teck Resources have established their previously announced 50:50 joint venture, dubbed NewRange Copper Nickel.

NewRange Copper Nickel holds both NorthMet and Mesaba copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum group metal (PGM) deposits located in northeastern Minnesota.

The two deposits are said to contain around one-half of the known copper-nickel mineral resources in northern Minnesota’s Duluth Complex.

As part of the transaction, Mesaba project veteran Tannice McCoy has been appointed general manager of NewRange Copper Nickel.

McCoy was involved in various critical minerals project development in Minnesota, including Teck’s Mesaba project for almost 21 years.

Tannice McCoy said: “NewRange Copper Nickel has the potential to be a modern, multi-generational operation that will support North America’s acceleration to a carbon-neutral future, build a better quality of life for people, and diversify and create significant economic benefits for northern Minnesota and beyond.”

NewRange Copper Nickel will develop the NorthMet mine upon completion of the remaining permit proceedings and advance studies on the mine development options for Mesaba.

The JV currently has a team of 27 members from Mesaba and NorthMet projects, which is expected to expand in 2024 to support the development activities.

NorthMet Project has located near both existing and closed iron ore mines and leverages existing brownfield tailings storage and plant locations to minimise environmental impact.

It is anticipated to produce 29,000 tonnes of ore per day over a 20-year permitted mine life, with the first production expected in 2026.

The Mesaba mineral deposit is located in the Duluth Complex near the NorthMet Project and contains one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-nickel resources.

It requires additional studies and community consultations to fully define the long-term development potential and represents a strategic metal resource in North America.

Teck copper growth senior vice president Tyler Mitchelson and PolyMet chairman, president and CEO Jon Cherry jointly stated: “Our respective senior management teams are excited about the potential to make a difference in the supply of critical minerals to the North American market from northeastern Minnesota.”