Twin Metals Minnesota Statement on Action by Interior Department to Reaffirm Renewal Rights for Federal Mineral Leases in Northeast Minnesota
ST. PAUL, Minn., December 22, 2017 – Twin Metals Minnesota issued the following statement in response to today’s action by the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) to reaffirm Twin Metals’ right to renewal of two federal mineral leases held in Northeast Minnesota for more than 50 years. The DOI action withdraws and replaces a March 2016 DOI legal opinion that served as the basis for the December 2016 action by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to deny the renewal of the two Twin Metals leases. Twin Metals’ federal leases are important components of the underground mine project proposal the company is preparing for submittal to state and federal agencies for extensive review through an Environmental Impact Statement.
“Twin Metals is pleased with today’s action by the U.S. Department of the Interior to reaffirm Twin Metals’ right to renewal of federal mineral leases held in Northeast Minnesota for more than 50 years. The decision is an important first step to ensure the certainty of investments in U.S. mining projects and to reaffirm long-standing property rights and the rule of law. The DOI’s new legal position also paves the way for federal agencies to reverse previous actions denying renewal of Twin Metals’ federal leases. In response to the DOI’s action, Twin Metals today dismissed its federal lawsuit challenging the Department’s previous legal opinion and denial of lease renewal. Twin Metals looks forward to working with the agencies through the proper process of renewing the company’s leases.”
Twin Metals’ federal mineral leases were first issued by the federal government in 1966 with a right of unlimited, successive 10-year renewals. The leases were renewed by BLM and USFS without controversy in 1989 and again in 2004. Twin Metals filed for the third renewal of the leases in late 2012. The legal opinion issued by the DOI in March 2016 served as the foundation for the government denying the company’s lease renewal application. Twin Metals filed a federal lawsuit challenging the DOI’s legal opinion in September 2016.
Twin Metals has invested more than $400 million to date in acquisition, exploration, technical, environmental, and other project development activities. The Twin Metals project will meet all state and federal environmental standards, provide hundreds of jobs for generations of Minnesotans, and result in billions of dollars of environmentally-responsible economic growth in the region.
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.