Teck (TSX: TECK.A, TECK.B; NYSE: TECK) and PolyMet (TSX: POM; NYSE: PLM) have launched the NewRange Copper Nickel joint venture with the aim to supply critical minerals for the clean energy transition across North America. Together, they plan to become the second nickel producer in the US.
NewRange holds both the NorthMet and Mesaba copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum group metal deposits, two significant clean energy critical mineral resources located in northeastern Minnesota.
The two resources contain measured and indicated resources of 637 million tonnes and 2 billion tonnes for NorthMet and Mesaba respectively, and additional inferred resources of 400 million tonnes and 1.3 billion tonnes respectively.
In total, the two assets represent approximately one-half of the known 7.25-billion-tonne Duluth Complex resource in northeastern Minnesota.
NorthMet is expected to produce 29,000 tonnes of ore per day over a 20-year permitted mine life, with first production targeted for 2026. Over its first full five years of operations, it is expected to deliver annual payable production of 30,000 tonnes of copper, 3,600 tonnes of nickel, 58,000 oz. of palladium, and 12,000 oz. of platinum. Estimates for Metsaba are currently unclear.
PolyMet and Teck are responsible for funding their pro rata share of costs related to the NorthMet and Mesaba projects. The owners have committed to an initial work program with an estimated budget of $170 million to maintain permits, update feasibility cost estimates, and undertake detailed engineering to position NorthMet for a development decision following permit clearances, and to advance Mesaba studies.
Glencore has committed to support PolyMet’s respective portion of NewRange’s initial $170 million work program and certain other costs and expenses in the amount of approximately $100 million.
“NewRange Copper Nickel has potential to be a modern, multi-generational operation that will support North America’s acceleration to a carbon-neutral future, build a better quality of life for people, and diversify and create significant economic benefits for northern Minnesota and beyond,” said Tannice McCoy, the newly appointed general manager of NewRange following a 21-year career with Teck.