The Wilderness that supports world-class remote angling and hunting adventures for sportsmen and women like you is threatened by sulfide-ore copper mining. This toxic mining practice would harm productive habitats that support fish and game.
The pristine waters and unspoiled forests of the Boundary Waters provide critical habitat for wildlife, including moose, bear, deer, walleye, bass, trout, pike, grouse, waterfowl and more.
The Boundary Waters is where generations of children developed a lifelong love of nature that brought them back as adults. Action is needed to ensure future generations can enjoy the pristine waters, world-renowned angling and incomparable scenery that so many have come to know and cherish.
The Boundary Waters is the economic lifeblood of northeastern Minnesota's lucrative outdoor recreation and tourism industry. Tourism in northeastern Minnesota generates $852 million per year in sales revenue and supports 18,000 jobs that provide a foundation for local families and businesses.
Acid mine drainage, heavy metals and associated pollutants from sulfide-ore copper mines harm microorganisms, aquatic plants and fish. Acid mine drainage also increases the acidity of waters. As acidity increases, we know certain species will be unable to survive. Minnows are impacted first, followed by walleye, northerns, smallmouth bass, trout and loons.
Minnesotans already face fish consumption advisories from mercury contamination around the state. Sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters would expose local residents and visitors alike to additional sources of mercury, increasing the risk of elevated blood mercury above the safe limit.
The forests of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are deeply interconnected with the streams, lakes, wetlands and groundwater. Mining activities would disrupt this relationship, resulting in the loss of forest area and unique opportunities for hunting in remote areas.
The mining industry has a long history of major infrastructure failures with catastrophic environmental impacts. Even state-of-the-art mines are at risk for this level of disaster. In August 2014, the Mount Polley copper and gold mine in British Columbia had a tailings dam breach that released 4.5 million cubic meters of toxic slurry into a lake and river system that was a priceless salmon spawning area. At about the same time, a mine in Mexico spilled 40,000 cubic meters of copper sulfate acid solution into two rivers, wiping out the water supply for a vast rural area that depended on the river water for domestic use and agriculture.
Fish and wildlife were devastated, and the list of recent disasters goes on.