Dep't of Interior cancels Minnesota mineral leases in blow to Antofagasta's Twin Metals
The Department of the Interior announced today that it canceled two hardrock mineral leases adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota.
Twin Metals, which is owned by Antofagasta plc, is trying to advance an underground copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum group metals mining project in the region. The miner said it was "stunned" by the announcement.
"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. This region sits on top of one of the world’s largest deposits of critical minerals," wrote the company in a news release.
The interior department said it found "...significant legal deficiencies in the circumstances surrounding the 2019 renewal, including: the lease renewal forms contravened the Department’s regulations; the Department did not duly recognize the U.S. Forest Service’s consent authority; and the inadequate environmental analysis failed to include a no-renewal, no-action alternative."