Forest Service Holds First Twin Metals Lease Renewal Listening Session

The session brought hundreds to the DECC to hear public opinion on mineral leases near the Boundary Waters Wilderness watershed.

The first public listening session on the renewal of two Twin Metals mineral leases brought hundreds to the DECC and Duluth.

Supporters and opponents had the opportunity for their voices to be heard by the

The leases are just one of the first steps in the creation of a mine. Emotions ran high as both sides weighed the importance of the environment and job creation.

“For these groups to say tourism is carrying Ely, well it kind of does if you like ice cream and lattes,” said one mining supporter who spoke at the meeting.

Mining supporters from the Iron Range say that mining has carried them for nearly 140 years.

“They’re miners. They’ve been doing that for four or five generations and they’re proud of what they do and do it in an environmentally safe way and continue doing it,” said St. Louis County Commissioner Tom Rukavina.

But the Twin Metals leases are located within the same watershed as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in the Superior National Forest.

“Ely is the gateway to the boundary waters. Would anyone ever say Ely is the gateway to the mining district? I don’t think so,” said one opponent of mining in the Boundary Waters watershed.

Some have fears that a new mine could destroy the wilderness.

“We’re here fighting for our cause. Fighting for our livelihood and ensuring that our children and our children’s children can still savor the same beautiful pristine place that we’ve come to call home,” said Ely businessman Paul Schurke

Yet others say that investments in mining mean investments in future generations.

“For someone to call what is the livelihood of many of our men and women temporary and to pass it off as unimportant is extremely offensive,” said one Twin Metals supporter.

The debate continued through the night.

“The mining industry is peddling mining for economic development and I don’t see evidence that works anymore. The good old days are gone,” said another opponent of a possible mine.

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