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Baseline Study Data Collection and Strategic Consulting Lays Groundwork for Project Approach

Background

Navigating the environmental process in the water-rich Great Lakes region presents significantly greater challenges than other geographies. In 2009, Antofogasta found themselves embarking on the challenge, and we were hired to perform environmental due diligence on what is now Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM) project near Ely, MN. We have continued our partnership with TMM, since we were hired in 2015 to be the lead environmental consultant and lead water resource consultant to now, as we continue to play a lead role in advancing the environmental assessments, regulatory strategy, and public facing information for the project.

Approach

We serve as TMM’s primary environmental consultant, responsible for guiding and supporting TMM through:

  • Design and execution of environmental investigations, impact analysis, EIS support and permit preparation;
  • Client representation before State Regulators for strategic planning of environmental characterization, EIS development, and permitting;
  • Planning and execution of hydrogeologic characterization, impact analysis, modeling, and design modifications for impact minimization;
  • Planning and oversight of baseline study activities;
  • Planning and executing investigations of surface/groundwater interaction characterization;
  • Providing line of sight to the complexity of the interactions of project development, environmental review, and permitting.
  • Scoping and planning of impact analysis for all aspects of NEPA/MEPA environmental, cultural, archeological, and socio-economic receptors; and
  • Collaboration with mine design consultants for impact minimization and permitting efficiency.

Results

We have successfully developed a world class hydrologic data set that is being leveraged by TMM to not only answer environmental effect and project design questions, but is also providing recognition by some stakeholders as “best ever.” Our team also developed an environmental data management system for TMM, to help them manage all their environmental data collected from numerous consultants, which will be used in environmental review, permitting and operations. We helped TMM develop a considerable knowledge base of the geology, hydrogeology, and the methods needed to characterize the very hard bedrock system at great depth. The team successfully planned and executed the preliminary baseline and impact characterizations for the proposed project. We lead the delivery of a complete mine plan of operations and a state environmental data submittal on time, so that TMM could achieve an important milestone of launching the federal and state EIS process by their preferred date. By identifying and staying focused on success criteria, we have developed and delivered the road map for navigating the next steps in the federal and state environmental review process that TMM is using to help advance their project.

Our experience in planning and permitting numerous base metal projects in the Great Lakes region has gained the recognition of Minnesota stakeholders. We leveraged this recognition and experience to implement baseline study activities to identify gather data required for environmental assessment and project planning. This effort served as the basis to limit redundancy in environmental studies and repetitive study iterations that would delay project schedules, drive up costs, and contribute to public anxiety.

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