Statement on U.S. Forest Service Announcement Related to Twin Metals Leases
ST. PAUL, Minn., June 14, 2016 – Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM) issued the following statement today regarding the June 13, 2016, announcement by the US Forest Service (USFS) that it will conduct a 30-day public input process beginning later this month, in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as part of the multi-agency review of TMM’s application to renew its existing federal mineral leases in Northeast Minnesota. TMM is in the early phases of project definition for a potential mining project in the region.
“TMM is disappointed with the USFS’s statement yesterday that it is, ‘considering withholding consent for lease renewal’ based on general and arbitrary concerns about potential environmental impacts related to mining in the region. The USFS statement suggests a disturbing predisposition or bias in opposition to granting renewal of TMM’s mineral leases, even before the agency conducts its announced public process. TMM further considers this premature opposition to be inconsistent with the USFS’s duties and obligations related to mining’s status as a ‘desired condition’ under the Superior National Forest Land Resource Management Plan.
The only issue currently before the federal agencies is TMM’s ownership and long-standing federal mineral tenure rights. TMM’s current and possible future field operations under the leases are subject to separate and thorough environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act. Once a future mine plan is developed and submitted, TMM expects and is committed to a rigorous environmental review process that takes into consideration the concerns of state and federal agencies and the public.
TMM is committed to protecting Minnesota’s wilderness, natural environment and northern communities, while pursuing the economic opportunities associated with responsible mining of the abundant natural resources held under federal, state and private mineral leases. TMM is deeply concerned with the overall federal process currently being fashioned by the BLM and USFS to address TMM’s lease renewal application. TMM is evaluating all options to protect the company’s valid existing property rights, due process and contractual entitlement to renewal of the federal leases – leases that have been held in good standing for decades and on which TMM has paid the US Government significant royalties. TMM requests that the USFS and BLM engage in a fair, objective and appropriately scoped process, and will again – in line with historical precedence – rightfully renew TMM’s mineral leases.”
About Twin Metals Minnesota: Twin Metals Minnesota is a Minnesota company focused on developing and operating an underground copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, gold and silver mining project (TMM Project) in the Iron Range region of Northeast Minnesota. Twin Metals is owned by Antofagasta plc, one of the top ten copper producers in the world. The TMM Project is in the early stages of development and offers Minnesota an extraordinary opportunity for long-term, environmentally-sound economic growth and job creation.