Twin Metals responds to mineral withdrawl in Northeast Minnesota

January 27, 2023

Twin Metals Minnesota said it remains committed to its project in northern Minnesota despite the decision of the U.S. Department of the Interior to place a mining ban on 225,000 acres that includes land where Twin Metals planned to develop a $1.7 billion underground copper-nickel mine.

The order by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was also immediately denounced by Republicans, while environmental groups cheered the move that gave them a victory after a long campaign.

The Interior Department said it would remove more than 225,000 acres of Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota from mineral and geothermal leasing to protect the Rainy River watershed, including Boundary Waters and the 1854 Ceded Territory of the Chippewa Bands, from potential contamination from mining activities.

Twin Metals Minnesota spokesperson Kathy Graul said in a statement that the company remains “committed to enforcing Twin Metals’ rights.”

“Twin Metals Minnesota is deeply disappointed and stunned that the federal government has chosen to enact a 20-year moratorium on mining across a quarter million acres of land in northeast Minnesota,” the company said in a statement. “This region sits on top of one of the world’s largest deposits of critical minerals that are vital in meeting our nation’s goals to transition to a clean energy future, to create American jobs, to strengthen our national security and to bolster domestic supply chains.”

Lawmakers who support the mining effort also argued the administration is undermining its own energy transitions goals — a nod to the critical minerals like copper and nickel needed for renewable energy that are currently procured largely from foreign sources hostile to U.S. interests like China.

“If Democrats were serious about developing renewable energy sources and breaking China’s stranglehold on the global market, they would be flinging open the doors to responsible mineral development here in the U.S.,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), the newly minted chair of the House Natural Resources Committee.

“We cannot have a future of renewable energy without minerals, period — not to mention their necessity to our defense systems, satellites, cellphones and virtually every other advanced technology,” he said.

The Twin Metals mining interest has flipped back and forth through several presidential administrations. The company sought to renew the leases from the Obama administration, which decided against taking that step.

The Trump administration then reinstated the leases for 10 years and issued a legal opinion that they were valid rights. But that decision was subsequently overturned by the Biden administration, which began a review of the potential impacts of mining on the Rainy River watershed in 2021 and canceled the leases last year, citing errors in the Trump-era extension.




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