ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded the planned PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota the final permit it needs to proceed.

The permit deals with how PolyMet will mitigate the project’s effects on wetlands. The Corps says the project will impact 500 fewer acres of wetlands compared with PolyMet’s original proposal.

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Col. Sam Calkins, commander of the Corps’ St. Paul District, said Friday they’re confident that the permit will allow access to important mineral resources while maximizing protections for natural resources including wetlands.

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In a separate statement, PolyMet calls it a “historic achievement” that will let it move forward with building Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine.

Minnesota regulators issued the other key permits for the project last year, but the mine still faces court challenges that could hold it up.

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