CEO: PolyMet will honor labor deal

PolyMet CEO Jon Cherry responded to House 3A candidate Bill Hansen’s remarks on the project.

House 3A DFL candidate Bill Hansen has turned his criticism of the PolyMet copper/nickel/precious metals project near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt from the construction workers who would build the plant, to the company that is helping bankroll the venture and also to a Project Labor Agreement already in place.

And he’s gone from YouTube video to print news releases to frame his latest message regarding PolyMet.

PolyMet CEO Jon Cherry previously refuted Hansen’s assertions that “man camps” will be required near the construction site and will lead to a major increase in crime in the area.

Cherry has also tackled the candidate’s allegation that PolyMet can’t be trusted to honor the PLA because of the large global mining company Glencore’s involvement as a senior partner. That is simply wrong. Chrery said.

“We have a labor agreement for the construction of the project and will fully honor that commitment as we will all of our business and environmental commitments,” Cherry said, responding to an email request from the Mesabi Daily News for comment on the issue.

In a Tuesday news release, Hansen, who is one of four DFL candidates running in Tuesday’s primary for the party’s nomination for the Dec. 8 general election, took aim at Glencore, saying the company’s history shows it will not be a friend to labor.

But Cherry said PolyMet is not tied solely to Glencore.

“We take pride in being an investor-owned company with a diversity of shareholders both large and small, all of whom have a stake in the project being built in an environmentally responsible manner,” Cherry said in his email to the MDN.

The CEO pointed out the Minnesota nature of the project.

“These investment dollars are almost entirely spent in Minnesota to the benefit of Minnesotans. Day-to-day project oversight and management is not performed by investors, but by PolyMet’s Minnesota team,” Cherry said.

The other DFL candidates seeking the House 3A nomination are Koochiching County Commissioner Rob Ecklund of International Falls, who works at Boise Cascade, Ely City Councilor Heidi Omerza, and International Falls businessman Eric Johnson.

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