ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Court of Appeals says one of the state's largest taconite mines does not need a new environmental study to expand and keep operating for another 16 years.
A three-judge panel ruled Monday that a lengthy environmental impact study is not needed for U.S. Steel to add 483 acres to its Minntac iron ore mine.
The mine and its processing plant began operating in 1967 and have expanded twice before.
The latest proposal would allow the mine to expand again and maintain its current rate of production until 2031 instead of closing in 2015.
The Department of Natural Resources said last April a longer environmental impact statement was not necessary.
An environmental group argued a more comprehensive study was needed to protect nearby waterways.