PolyMet Loan From Iron Range Resources Approvedadmin
PolyMet Mining Corp. announced that the Board of Iron Range Resources (“IRR”) has, on the commissioner’s recommendation, approved a secured loan to PolyMet of up to $4 million. The IRR board is composed of five members of the Minnesota Senate, five members Minnesota House of Representatives and three citizen members. The loan agreement between the IRR and PolyMet will provide funding from the Taconite Area Environmental Protection Fund to purchase lands for public use, to support the creation of jobs, and to diversify and expand the economy of the region.
The Iron Range Resources agency was created seventy years ago by the State Legislature to stabilize and enhance the economy of northeastern Minnesota’s Taconite Assistance Area. PolyMet’s NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals project, located in the established Mesabi mining district in northeastern Minnesota, lies within the funding jurisdiction of the IRR.
The loan will be used to purchase forest land, wetlands, and lakes with high recreational value that would become available for public use and enjoyment. These properties, which PolyMet currently has under purchase option, would be purchased for future use as part of a proposed land exchange for surface rights at the proposed NorthMet mine site currently controlled by the U.S. Forest Service.
The $4 million loan will be secured by the land to be acquired from proceeds of the loan, carry a fixed interest rate of 5% per annum, and will be repayable on December 31, 2015. Subject to regulatory approval, the Company has also agreed to issue warrants giving the IRR the right to purchase up to 400,000 shares of PolyMet common stock at US$2.50 per share at any time until December 31, 2015.
“By providing this loan, Iron Range Resources is helping to advance regional growth and secure public access to important lands,” said Joe Scipioni, president and CEO of PolyMet. “This source of funds from IRR is an important step in PolyMet’s effort to create jobs in northern Minnesota to the benefit of the local, regional, and state economies. Bringing the former LTV plant back into operation, producing high value copper, nickel, and precious metals, is both an exciting and strategic opportunity.”