Commonly Asked Questions
At Talon Metals and the Tamarack Nickel Project, we are committed to an open and honest dialogue about our operation. Below are some commonly asked questions and our responses as they relate to the current status of the Tamarack Nickel Project.
The nickel mineralization found on the Tamarack Project is high-grade [sulphide], which means there is more metal per ton of rock (less waste material) and the process of extracting the metal from the rock (metallurgy) is simpler in comparison to the extra steps needed for a lower grade [laterite] project. Since the high-grade nature of this deposit allows for simplified processing, Talon is able to focus on initiatives for producing Green Nickel from this deposit.
Baseline data provides an understanding of normal water quality conditions and flow patterns. This information is incorporated into the project design to ensure future mine activities don’t negatively affect water quality.
The state mineral leases for our work have already been obtained for the project, and mutual agreements made with private landowners where surface access is needed. Talon is committed to working with landowners to form these agreements for operating on private lands and would not enter private properties without prior consent and agreed meeting.
If the project develops into a mine, it is also possible that property values would increase rather than decrease with the economic investment linked to building and operating the mine and distribution of mining royalties by the State of Minnesota into the region.
Minnesota law requires financial assurance against closure obligations, regardless of where a company headquarters is located. The amount of financial assurance is determined as part of the permitting process and provides sufficient funding for the state to close the mine if the company were to go bankrupt. Talon is committed to developing, operating, and closing a successful mine
1. Please see the technical report entitled “NI 43-101 Technical Report Updated Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) #3 of the Tamarack North Project – Tamarack, Minnesota” which is available on our website.
Water Quality and Treatment
Yes, although the number of gallons of water that will need to be treated is still being studied. While mine water needs to be treated, most modern mine water is not “toxic” like the water from unregulated legacy sites. There are a variety of options for water treatment systems. As part of the environmental review process, we will determine what treatment systems will work best for the project conditions.
The exact amount of water that will need to be pumped and the impact of any pumping is currently under evaluation as we study the hydrology of the area and refine the mine design. We are analyzing different construction methods with the goal of minimizing the amount of water needed in operations.
There are numerous technologies that remove sulfides and other materials and we will select a removal approach as we continue to shape the mine plan. We are committed to meeting all water quality standards and our goal is to produce water with concentrations substantially lower than what is required by regulations.
This will be evaluated during the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) process.
The Tamarack Nickel Project must comply with the highest state and federal water regulations. Before the potential mine is permitted Talon will need to satisfy these science-and-engineering based regulation requirements. For the last 15 years, we have been collecting water samples from across the region to create a base line about water quality, flows and other factors. We have shared this data with the community, tribal nations and regulators.
Talon has always been transparent about our operations and will continue to be open with the community on our plans as we move forward. We hope that people will wait to form their opinions about the project after the detailed plans are developed, shared with the public and then tested by the environmental study and permitting process
Talon will use the latest technology for underground mining and is looking at new approaches for underground mining that limits the use of explosives. This is primarily a safety measure, but it will also limit surface noise. Noise estimates will be part of the permitting process and ongoing noise monitoring will be part of operations if the mine is permitted.
Analysis of air borne pollution will be part of any environmental review and Minnesota has some of the most rigorous air pollution standards in the United States. Our mine plans will meet these standards.
Radioactive minerals are not prevalent at Tamarack but, yes.
Yes, one of the studies we have started which addresses this question is called Material Characterization. Material Characterization is used to determine how each rock material reacts when exposed to air and water. Part of this work includes a complete chemical and mineralogical analysis of all materials that will be handled on site. These tests will identify potential parameters of concern. These components and many more will be analyzed, and their potential impact will be evaluated as part of the environmental review process.
The Minnesota Mineland Reclamation rules require that all material being handled on site be characterized to determine its potential to “adversely impact natural resources”. The goal of the rules is to ensure that any material left on the surface is either non-reactive, modified to be non-reactive, or stored in such a manner to be non-reactive or managed to prevent any adverse impacts. Talon will not leave any uncontrolled reactive material on site to cause future environmental problems.
As part of project shaping, we are always looking at new technology and new approaches to limit the size of surface rock storage. A final mine plan will ultimately fully include plans for how we would safely store and contain waste rock after the nickel and other critical minerals have been extracted.
Nickel Supply Chain/ EV Batteries/Talon Marketing
Our goal for the Tamarack Nickel Project is to provide a domestic source of nickel for US made electric vehicles, and all project plans are focused on making this goal a reality while also having one of the world’s most environmentally safe operations.
Talon is also working with battery recyclers to make sure that our tracking and tracing systems are compatible, and that nickel produced at Tamarack can be used in US produced EV batteries and recycled in the future. This cradle-to-cradle concept is part of Talon’s “green nickel” objective.
There are billions of dollars in new investments for electric battery manufacturing plants in North America that have been announced in 2021. To date all of these factories will make batteries using nickel dependent chemistries.
Nickel-based batteries have longer duration, higher energy density and battery manufacturers continue to improve nickel dependent batteries. While different battery chemistries will emerge, most battery industry analysts project that nickel-based batteries will continue to dominate the market for decades.
Minnesota has a long and rich mining history with a robust environmental review and permitting process. When comparing the environmental rules between Minnesota vs. countries like Indonesia, Russia or China, it is clear that Minnesota has higher standards for environmentally and socially responsible operations.
Shifting environmental impacts to foreign jurisdictions without considering the biodiversity, human rights and Co2 footprint of raw materials is something that most people are rejecting. Consumers that understand global climate impacts will want locally sourced materials with high standards for environmental protection, good wages for working people, low Co2 emissions in the production of the material and adherence to human rights.