Canadian diversified miner Teck Resources and Glencore-backed PolyMet Mining have agreed to form a joint venture (JV) to advance their copper and nickel mining projects in the established Iron Range mining region of Minnesota, US.

The new 50-50 JV, named NewRange Copper Nickel LLC, is expected to help unlock a new domestic critical metals supply for the low-carbon transition through responsible mining.

The two firms will fund the JV with $170m of the initial budget for permitting and engineering work for PolyMet Mining’s NorthMet Project and Teck’s Mesaba mineral deposit.

Glencore will continue to hold a majority stake in PolyMet and provide financial support to the JV for its share of the funding commitment.

PolyMet chairman, president and CEO Jon Cherry said that the venture will develop the NorthMet mine upon completion of the remaining permit proceedings, as well as study the Mesaba mine’s development options.

Cherry stated: “With both projects representing approximately half of the known resources of Minnesota’s Duluth Complex under NewRange Copper Nickel, Minnesota emerges as a global leader and major force in developing strategic minerals to feed the North American supply chain for clean energy technologies, electric mobility and modern societal use.

“The total assets of the NorthMet and Mesaba deposits make this one of the largest clean-energy mineral resources in the US and globally.”

Mesaba is said to be one of the largest undeveloped copper-nickel precious metals deposits in the world.

The NorthMet copper-nickel-PGM mine development project is in the Mesabi Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota.

The NorthMet and Mesaba projects are estimated to hold measured and indicated resources of 795 million tonnes (Mt) and 1,740Mt, respectively, and further inferred resources of 458Mt and 1,612Mt, respectively.

NewRange will have a management committee comprising an equal number of representatives from PolyMet and Teck.