Glencore aims to acquire full ownership of PolyMet Mining, the company developing a copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota with Teck Resources. Currently holding 82% of PolyMet Mining, Glencore offered $71 million to increase its stake to 100%, making PolyMet a private entity. This proposal represents a 167% premium over PolyMet’s closing stock price on Friday, leading to a surge in share prices.
PolyMet Mining is reviewing Glencore’s engagement but has not made any decisions yet. The mining project, initially a joint venture with Teck and now known as NewRange Copper Nickel, strives to be Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine. However, it has faced significant delays due to court and regulatory setbacks.
The most recent setback occurred last month when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers revoked a critical water quality permit. The permit did not comply with water quality standards set by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, whose reservation is downstream from the mine and processing plant sites.
The project has faced criticism from environmental and tribal groups, as well as former Governor Arne Carlson. Carlson has raised concerns about the impact on water resources and the influence of large mining corporations on Minnesota politics. Given Glencore’s record, he questions the state’s engagement with the company. Glencore faced corruption and market manipulation allegations last year, resulting in penalties of up to $1.5 billion. Additionally, Glencore attempted to acquire Teck’s steelmaking coal business but was unsuccessful.
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