Twin Metals Mineral Leases Near BWCA Canceled by Dept. Of Interior

Twin Metals Mine

The mineral leases for Twin Metals Minnesota in northeast Minnesota have been canceled, the Department of the Interior announced Wednesday.

The Department says the leases held by Twin Metals were “improperly renewed” in 2019.

“The Department of the Interior takes seriously our obligations to steward public lands and waters on behalf of all Americans. We must be consistent in how we apply lease terms to ensure that no lessee receives special treatment,” said Secretary Deb Haaland in a release. “After a careful legal review, we found the leases were improperly renewed in violation of applicable statutes and regulations, and we are taking action to cancel them.”

Twin Metals released a statement Wednesday in response to the cancelation of mineral leases which says in part:

“The federal government’s reversal of its position on the mineral leases that Twin Metals Minnesota and its predecessor companies have held for more than 50 years is disappointing, but not surprising given the series of actions the administration has taken to try and shut the door on copper-nickel mining in northeast Minnesota. We will challenge this attempt to stop our project and defend our valid existing mineral rights. We expect to prevail.”

Environmental group Save the Boundary Waters also released a statement Wednesday about the decision saying, “Today is a major win for Boundary Waters protection,” said Becky Rom, National Chair of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. “This action by the Biden administration re-establishes the long-standing legal consensus of five presidential administrations and marks a return of the rule of law. It also allows for science-based decision-making on where risky mining is inappropriate. It is heartening to have an administration making decisions with integrity. Twin Metals leases should never have been reinstated in the first place and this announcement should stop the Twin Metals mine threat.”

In October, the Biden Administration ordered a study that could ban mining near the BWCA for 20 years.

The Chilean-owned Twin Metals appealed that decision before today’s ruling.

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