Twin Metals files lawsuit over lease cancellation of Minnesota copper project
Twin Metals Minnesota filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Monday in a bid to reverse the cancellation of mineral leases for the company’s proposed Twin Metals copper and nickel mine in northern Minnesota. The company said the suit aims to “reclaim its federal mineral leases and reverse a series of arbitrary and capricious actions by federal agencies aimed at preventing the development of its modern mining project in northern Minnesota. These actions by the Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management undercut America’s long-term priorities of securing domestic supply chains, addressing climate change by moving toward a clean energy future, and strengthening national security.
Twin Metals said the January decision to cancel the leases was illegal and that it should have the right to prove in the regulatory review process that its proposed underground mine can meet state and federal standards.
“We are standing up for our right to a fair and consistent environmental review of our proposed mining project,” said Dean DeBeltz, Twin Metals’ Director of Operations. “Our plan is backed by decades of exploration and analysis and is rooted in the most environmentally sophisticated design, which is tailored for our project location and mineral deposit. It deserves a fair evaluation by federal regulators based on its merits.”
Based on possession of its valid mineral rights, Twin Metals has invested more than $550 million in the development of its project over the past 12 years. The extensive environmental, engineering, hydrogeological and community engagement work resulted in the submittal of the company’s formal mine plan in late 2019.
“As the mine plan shows, the project is located in an area where Congress has allowed mining for over a century. The Twin Metals mine will be one of the most sustainable and technologically advanced mines in the country. The project’s unique geology and mining methods ensure that there is no risk to the environment from acid rock drainage. Twin Metals will utilize an environmentally friendly tailings management system called dry stack, which means there is no dam, and therefore, no potential for dam failure. The project is on track to become carbon neutral through utilization of an electric mining fleet, renewable energy and mine ventilation and heat recovery. Twin Metals has also partnered with educational institutions to advance research and testing work to sequester carbon in its tailings. Because the mine is underground, the surface footprint is minimal – about 10-15 percent of the size of a comparable openpit mine” the company said in a statement.
“As an Ely native and fourth-generation miner, I know first-hand how important this project is to help advance America’s clean energy goals while creating good jobs here at home,” said DeBeltz. “I’m proud to be part of a company that is so deeply committed to bringing growth back to this area and doing so in a responsible way.”