Twin Metals Lease Renewal



The Duluth (mineral) Complex underlies a significant portion of the Superior National Forest (SNF). This mineral deposit contains copper, nickel, lead, zinc, cobalt, chromium, iron, titanium, platinum, palladium, silver, gold and other associated metals (also known as hard-rock or non-ferrous minerals). Twin Metals Minnesota LLC (TMM), a multinational company, has announced their intent to develop a mine and processing plant. In order for the mine proposal to move forward the company’s two current leases (MNES-01352 and MNES-01353) with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must be renewed (Vicnity Map/Detailed Map)

On June 6, 2016 the U.S. Forest Service (FS) received a request from the BLM that the FS provide, in writing, a decision on whether it consents or does not consent to the renewal of the leases that TMM currently holds. The leases are located within the same watershed as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) on the Superior National Forest. The FS has regulatory authority to grant or deny consent to lease renewals within national forest boundaries in Minnesota (16 U.S.C. § 508b, 60 Stat. 1099). BLM regulations at 43 C.F.R part 3500 require FS consent to the BLM prior to issuing permits or leases. This grants FS discretion to determine if permits or leases are within the best interest of the public and whether surface resources can be adequately protected.

On December 14, 2016, the Chief of the Forest Service sent the BLM a letter denying consent for the renewal of two mineral leases adjacent to the Boundary Waters. Subsequently, the Bureau of Land Management notified the lease applicant, Twin Metals Minnesota, that their leases would not be renewed.

Following the determination regarding renewal of the Twin Metals Minnesota leases, the Forest Service submitted an application to the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw key portions of the watershed that flows into the BWCAW from new mineral permits and leases. Additional information regarding the withdrawal is posted in the Projects section of this website.