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environmental review and permitting for mine project

environmental review and permitting for mine project
Essar Steel Minnesota LLC

comprehensive environmental services and permitting strategies contribute to approval of pioneering project

Environmental review and permitting formed the critical path for the Essar Steel Minnesota project (formerly Minnesota Steel Industries). Currently under construction, the combined mine, concentrator, taconite pellet plant, direct-reduced-iron plant, and steel mill comprise one of the largest industrial projects in Minnesota’s history. Barr prepared permit applications and assisted with the environmental assessment and review process while our client proceeded with financial feasibility studies.

The project required a joint federal and state Environmental Impact Statement. We helped negotiate the final EIS scoping decision document and performed most of the studies used as the basis for the EIS, including the air quality analysis, water quality modeling, evaluation of wildlife and wetland impacts, cultural resources studies, and review of historic mining facilities. We conducted a comprehensive risk assessment for human-health and ecological impacts, as well as an extensive search for rare and endangered plant species. We also performed an emissions inventory, air quality modeling, and BACT analysis to formulate strategies for mitigating emissions of mercury, nitrous oxides, and greenhouse gases.

The linchpin of the Essar project was the requirement to construct and operate the new facility without allowing wastewater or stormwater runoff to enter nearby lakes and streams to which discharge is prohibited. Barr devised a plan that, through water reuse and recycling, will result in zero liquid discharge to the environment (for details, see water permitting strategy for mine.)

We have also provided numerous engineering services for the Essar Steel Minnesota project, including preparing the conceptual plant layout, flow diagrams, mine plan, and operating plan that were used as the basis for environmental review and permitting. For details about our engineering work for the project, see integrated steel-making facility progresses from concept toward production.