Friday October 13, 2023

Update – October, 31, 2023: Twin Metals is pleased the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources authorized our exploration plan on October 30, 2023. We look forward to begin exploration activity in a safe and environmentally responsible manner over the coming months, with a goal of collecting key data about our critical mineral resources.

Read the DNR summary of the exploration plan here.

Late last month, Twin Metals Minnesota submitted a plan to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for exploration on a limited number of our existing state and private mineral holdings. The goal of this exploration activity is to better understand our mineral resources and our potential to contribute critical minerals to support Minnesota and our nation in the transition to a clean energy future.

The state and private mineral leases targeted for this exploration work are held under Twin Metals’ subsidiary company, Franconia Minerals, and the plan encompasses up to nine drill holes for the purpose of collecting core samples.

Before an exploration plan was submitted in late September, we conducted a number of wetland, botanical, cultural and archaeological field surveys earlier this year to ensure the activities associated with drilling will take place in the least impactful manner possible. This survey work goes above and beyond what is required of companies that submit this type of plan. We have also factored into our plans a number of proactive mitigation measures, such as requiring contractors to utilize exhaust mufflers and spark arrestors and to shield any light sources.

All activities that take place as part of the exploration work will comply with the applicable state and federal regulations, as will the closure and reclamation activities. Targeted areas for the drilling program are not under Birch Lake, and all drill sites are located on private land.  

After core samples are collected, they are thoroughly studied by our team to determine the mineral content, ore grade, and other unique characteristics. The samples are logged in our detailed database and housed in our core storage facility in Ely, Minn. Additionally, a portion of the core samples will be sent to the DNR’s Drill Core Library in Hibbing.

The private and state mineral leases associated with our plan grant us the exclusive right to access the minerals for exploration. Submittal of our plan serves as the required notification to the DNR, and the agency has an important advisory role in the process. We anticipate that our exploration program will take place sometime after we have worked with the DNR to review our plan and make adjustments as necessary.

Twin Metals has a long history of safe and successful drilling programs in our area. We have developed more than 650 drill holes for exploration purposes, in addition to over 120 wells for hydrogeological data collection. Our safety program that guides these and all other aspects of the work we do as a company has been recognized by the National Mining Association.

The plan submitted to the DNR is solely for exploration purposes. We have an ongoing commitment to gaining additional knowledge and data about our mineral resources, especially as the demand for these materials is increasing exponentially to help build the metal-intensive clean energy technologies we need to combat climate change.

I’m proud to be leading this upcoming exploration program for Twin Metals, particularly because of the culture of safety and respect we have established as a company. All the work that we do as an organization is grounded in safety and respect for the surrounding environment, our communities and our employees and contractors.

We look forward to continuing to keep you updated as this work progresses.

Dean DeBeltz, Twin Metals Vice President of External Relations and Project Operations, is a fourth-generation miner and Ely native. He has worked in mining for the majority of his career, and while he worked at Northshore Mine in Babbitt, the mine was awarded the Sentinels of Safety award from the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the National Mining Association.