MINNEAPOLIS — The Department of Defense on Tuesday awarded $20.6 million to developers of the proposed Talon nickel mine in Minnesota under a program to strengthen domestic supply chains for critical minerals.
The defense funds will support prospecting work in Michigan and Minnesota, and follow a $114 million grant by the Department of Energy last year to help build Talon Metals' ore processing plant in North Dakota. The federal support stands in contrast to the Biden administration's efforts to block two other copper-nickel mining projects in Minnesota.
Nickel is an essential component of high-temperature alloys used in aerospace, as well as stainless steel and lithium-ion batteries, the Defense Department noted in its announcement. The U.S. has only one operating nickel mine, the Eagle Mine on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which is slated to close around 2026 unless it secures more ore. Talon hopes to make its proposed mine near Tamarack in northeastern Minnesota the second.
“This award exemplifies the DoD's commitment to strengthening the resilience of critical supply chains and lessening our reliance on foreign sources of vital minerals,” Anthony Di Stasio, director of the Pentagon program, said in the statement.
Talon said it will contribute $21.8 million in matching funds over about a three-year period — and use the money to buy more equipment and hire more employees to accelerate its efforts to find more…