Ex-BP CEO Might Oversee Safety at MN Mine

Tony Hayward, the top executive at BP during the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, may be heading to northern Minnesota to oversee safety at the proposed PolyMet mine.

Tony Hayward, former CEO of British Petroleum (BP), saw his career at the company dissolve after the Deepwater Horizon explosion that resulted in a catastrophic oil spill.

But according to a MinnPost report by Don Shelby, Hayward was recently hired by Swiss-based Glencore-a mining and commodities trading company and the principal investor in a mining operation planned for near Hoyt Lakes.

Hayward's job: executive expert in charge of environment and safety.

Richmond, British Columbia-based PolyMet Mining Corporation's plan for the northern Minnesota operation involves the mining of copper, nickel, and other precious metals-and would be the first of its kind in the state. Proponents of the proposed operation say that there are vast resources untapped in the area, and the project could revitalize the region. PolyMet has indicated that the operation would require approximately 1.5 million hours of construction labor and create 400 long-term jobs.

Those opposing the project cite significant environmental impacts of the large-scale operation. MinnPost points out that the Environmental Protection Agency says the type of “hardrock mining” being proposed generates more toxic waste than any other sector of the U.S. economy. And when the metals run out in that type of mining, the companies often pick up and leave, and the pollution continues to be a problem after they're gone.

MinnPost also reports that former state Representative Frank Moe, now a guide and outfitter on the North Shore, warns of the potential environmental effects of the proposed operation. He wants PolyMet to make upfront financial assurances that will cover cleanup costs. Read the full MinnPost story here.