Twin Metals to Likely Get Mineral Leases Renewed

December 22, 2017 10:42 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Trump administration has resurrected an effort to build the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

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Last December, the Obama administration declined to renew the long-standing leases that the company needs for the underground mine it wants to build near Ely. But an in opinion published Friday, a top attorney at the U.S. Interior Department concluded the Bureau of Land Management erred last year when it concluded that BLM had the power to grant or deny the lease renewals.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports the reversal means the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service must reconsider Twin Metals' 2012 lease renewal application.
Twin Metals said Friday that they have dismissed their lawsuit against the government over the non-renewal issue. The statement also said, "Twin Metals is pleased with today's action by the U.S. Department of the Interior to reaffirm Twin Metals' right to renewal of federal mineral leases held in Northeast Minnesota for more than 50 years. The decision is an important first step to ensure the certainty of investments in the U.S. mining projects and to reaffirm long-standing property rights and the rule of law."

The proposed site sits upstream from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Jobs for Minnesotans applauded the news, but said this does not touch on the proposed withdrawal of 235,000 acres of federal land that brought thousands to public hearings. Jobs for Minnesotans said they still plan on working on that issue.

Governor Mark Dayton "This shameful reversal by the Trump Administration shows that big corporate money and special interest influence now rule again in Republican-controlled Washington. We will have to uncover why the financial interests of a large Chilean corporation, with a terrible environmental record, has trumped the need to protect Minnesota's priceless Boundary Waters Canoe Area."

The Minnesota GOP sent a statement: "We applaud this latest effort to create more good-paying mining jobs in Northern Minnesota by the Trump administration. This is another important campaign promise kept by the Trump Administration to Minnesotans, and will lead the way to further economic development in our state" said MNGOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan. 

Save the Boundary Waters plans on fighting the decision in court.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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