Assessment of Natural Copper-Nickel Bedrocks on Water Quality

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund
U of MN - Duluth NRRI
Recipient Type
Public College/University
Start Date
July 2013
End Date
June 2017
Counties Affected
St. Louis
St. Louis
Project Overview

Large deposits of copper, nickel, cobalt, and other minerals in northeastern Minnesota could provide huge economic and employment benefits to the state while becoming an important source of important metals for the country. However, the mining required to extract them could have significant water quality impacts in a region that includes the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness and other environmentally sensitive watersheds. Up-to-date and accurate geochemical data is needed In order to assess and predict water quality impacts of potential mining and inform decision-making to protect water quality and sensitive ecosystems. Scientists at the University of Minnesota are using this appropriation to gather baseline data for assessing how existing concentrations of these metals in rocks, streambeds, and soils currently influence regional water quality. This information is a critical component for examining the risks posed by any potential future mining.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013, Chp. 52, Sec. 2, Subd. 05b
Appropriation Language

$585,000 the first year is from the trust fund to the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota in cooperation with the United States Geological Survey to assess impacts of existing mineralization and potential mining on northeastern Minnesota regional water quality, including impacts from copper, nickel, and other metal concentrations in rocks, streambed sediments, and soils in areas of potential base-metal mining. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016, by which time the project must be completed and final products delivered.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

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Measurable Outcome(s)

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Description of Funds
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Monson Geerts
Organization Name
U of MN - Duluth NRRI
Street Address
5013 Miller Trunk Hwy
Zip Code
(218) 788-2608
Administered By
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