Feds move to formally renew leases for Twin Metals mine

December 20, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The federal Bureau of Land Management says it plans to formally renew the mineral rights leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine near Ely.

The bureau said in a statement Thursday that its plans to impose updated stipulations on the leases from the U.S. Forest Service to mitigate risks to water resources and wilderness areas. A public comment period runs through Jan. 22.

The Trump administration in September lifted a roadblock to renewing the leases that was imposed late during the Obama administration, which cited the risks of acid mine drainage to the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Gov. Mark Dayton criticized the move, calling the BWCA “a priceless, irreplaceable environmental asset” that must be protected.

Several environmental groups are suing to quash the leases. Becky Rom of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters alleges the bureau is making an unlawful end-run around the earlier decision.

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