Twin Metals Minnesota Statement on Action by Federal Government to Deny Renewal of Company’s Federal Mineral Leases in Northeast Minnesota
ST. PAUL, Minn., December 15, 2016 – Twin Metals Minnesota issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement by the United States Forest Service (USFS) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that the agencies are denying renewal of two long-held federal mineral leases in the Iron Range region of northeastern Minnesota. Twin Metals is in the early stages of developing a proposal for a modern, environmentally safe, underground copper-nickel mining project in the region which would provide hundreds of jobs for generations of Minnesotans.
“Twin Metals is greatly disappointed in the action announced today by the BLM and the USFS to deny renewal of two of the company’s long-standing and valid mineral leases in Minnesota, and to initiate actions to withdraw federal lands and minerals from future exploration and development. If allowed to stand, the BLM-USFS actions will have a devastating impact on the future economy of the Iron Range and all of Northeast Minnesota, eliminating the promise of thousands of good-paying jobs and billions of dollars in investment in the region. Further, this unprecedented decision is contrary to the overwhelming majority of local and regional citizens and communities who support mining and believe mining can be done responsibly in this region.
Twin Metals’ leases have been held in good standing by the federal government for more than 50 years, and twice renewed without controversy. As stated in a federal lawsuit filed in September 2016, Twin Metals believes denial of the leases is inconsistent with federal law, the terms of leases themselves, and the federal government’s established precedent in supporting and renewing the leases over five decades.
While Twin Metals is assessing the impact of the agencies’ lease renewal decision, the company is committed to progressing our project forward and will continue to pursue legal avenues to protect our contractual mineral rights.”
The leases in question were issued by the federal government in 1966 with a right of unlimited, successive 10-year renewals. The leases were renewed by BLM without controversy in 1989 and again in 2004. Twin Metals filed the current lease renewal application in mid-2013. Twin Metals has invested more than $400 million to date in acquisition, exploration, technical, environmental, and other project development activities. If not overturned, the decision to deny renewal of the leases threatens to deprive northeastern Minnesota of the potential for hundreds of future jobs and billions of dollars in environmentally-responsible economic development.
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.
Additional details are available in this fact sheet.