Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Construction and Operation of an Open Pit Taconite Mine Proposed by Ispat Inland Mining Between Biwabik and McKinley in St. Louis County, MN
Ispat Inland Mining (Ispat) has applied to the St. Paul District, Corps of Engineers (Corps) for a permit to discharge dredged or fill material into wetlands to facilitate the construction and operation of a taconite mine consisting of two conventional open pits in a deposit known as the East Reserve (formerly known as the J&L East Reserve) between Biwabik and McKinley in St. Louis County, MN. The combined area of the two open pits would be 364 acres. The proposed pits contain an estimated 116,000,000 long tons of ore. The ore would be hauled by truck approximately 1.9 miles on a proposed new haul road spur and then an additional 5.5 miles on an existing haul road to Ispat's currently permitted and operating Minorca taconite processing facility north of Virginia, MN. Tailing waste would be disposed of in Ispat's currently permitted and operating Minorca and Upland tailings basins. The mining process would require the construction of overburden, waste rock, and lean ore stockpiles on the north side of the proposed pits. The total stockpile area would cover approximately 375 acres. Project plans call for the mining of an average of just over six million long tons of crude ore per year over the proposed 18-year life of the mine. The project would allow mining operations and taconite processing at the Minorca Plant to continue until 2024. The project would require the discharge of dredged or fill material into approximately 75.7 acres of wetlands. While some of the wetlands may be isolated, the majority of the wetlands are adjacent to an unnamed tributary to the Embarrass River, which is a tributary to the St. Louis River, which is a navigable water of the U.S., or the wetlands are adjacent to an unnamed tributary to the Pike River, which is a navigable water of the United States. Ispat proposes to utilize wetland credits from the existing Ispat Inland wetland mitigation bank in Aitkin County, MN to compensate for the lost wetland functions and values that would be caused by the proposed project. The discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States requires a permit issued by the Corps under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The final environmental impact statement will be used as a basis for the permit decision and to ensure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Inland Waterways Users Board
In Accordance with 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), announcement is made of the forthcoming meeting. Name of Committee: Inland Waterways Users Board (Board). Date: February 22, 2006. Location: The Embassy SuitesOld Town Alexandria, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703-684-5900). Time: Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 12:30 p.m. Agenda: The Board will consider its project investment priorities for the next fiscal year. The Board will also hear briefings on the status of both the funding for inland navigation projects and studies, and the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.