What happened 

Shares of PolyMet Mining (NYSEMKT:PLM) are soaring 55% as of noon EDT, and traded with as much as a 70% gain this morning. Positive company-specific news has the stock bucking the recent market trend. 

So what

PolyMet is preparing to mine copper, nickel, and precious metals from the NorthMet ore body in Minnesota. The area contains the Mesabi Iron Range, which has been supplying iron ore to the nation's steel industry for more than a century. The iron range is located within a massive geologic formation known as the Duluth Complex. 

aerial view of open pit mine

Image source: Getty Images.

Copper was discovered at the edge of the iron range in the 1940s, and modern processing technology now provides the ability to mine the Duluth Complex for copper, nickel, cobalt, and precious metals including platinum and gold. 

Now what

Advancement of the NorthMet project has been on hold after several environmental groups challenged the issuance of the water permit for the project from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). 

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and several other groups alleged the MPCA engaged in procedural irregularities related to the processing of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. A district court judge has now rejected the allegations that the MPCA attempted to keep EPA comments out of the administrative record. 

PolyMet president, chairman, and CEO Jon Cherry expressed confidence that the water quality permit meets all necessary standards. "We are pleased with the district court's ruling and look forward to defending the challenge to the water permit currently pending in the court of appeals," he said in a company statement.

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