Talon Metals, through its subsidiary Talon Nickel (USA), has submitted its Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the Tamarack Nickel-Copper-Cobalt project in Minnesota.

The base metals company has submitted the EAW to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), seeking Environmental Impact Statement scoping process.

The proposed Nickel-Copper-Cobalt project involves the construction of an underground mine and related facilities, near the City of Tamarack in Aitkin County, Minnesota.

It will have an 80-acre footprint on the surface, including an access portal to the underground mine, temporary storage for ore and waste rock, and facilities to collect and treat water.

The Minnesota DNR will commence the Environmental Review process for the proposed underground mine, rail loadout facility and water treatment plant in central Minnesota.

DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division director Katie Smith said: “We understand that Minnesotans have widely differing perspectives regarding this proposed project and nonferrous mining more broadly.

“The DNR, however, must base its decisions on the facts and the law. I want to assure all Minnesotans that the DNR is committed to a rigorous, transparent, and neutral review of the project, based on science and applicable state law.”

Talon’s EAW submission outlines a smaller mine operation campus at the Tamarack nickel project, with no crushing or processing of ore at the mine site.

The ore will be extracted from the orebody in the underground mine and transported by rail to a processing facility in Mercer County, North Dakota.

Talon intends to use a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), which will create a sealed cement tunnel as it makes its way through the glacial till zone to the deep bedrock.

The company plans to collect the water entering the underground mine, pumped to the surface for processing, and is exploring membrane-based water treatment technology.

The proposed development is expected to create more than 300 new union jobs, in addition to the nearly 100 individuals currently working at the nickel project.

Talon CEO Henri van Rooyen said: “Our team in Tamarack is excited to have reached the milestone of submitting the initial worksheet form to begin Minnesota’s Environmental Review process, the starting point for any project seeking a permit in the state.

“We have worked very hard and invested millions of dollars in understanding the environment and cultural resources in the area where we are proposing the Tamarack Nickel Project outside the City of Tamarack.

“Environmental data collection started in 2006 and today includes data from the deep bedrock where the high-grade nickel deposit is found, to the surface water in the glacial till layer that contains wetlands, streams, rivers, lakes and homestead wells. This baseline data has helped the team to design the proposed project to safeguard the environment.”