State Mineral Exploration Leases Approved

The Minnesota Executive Committee agreed to permit exploration for minerals on state lands and privately held land where the state owns the minerals rights.

The Duluth News Tribune has the story HERE.

The decision by the Executive Council — which is composed of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, and attorney general — was unanimous in the approval of 77 leases on 22,000 acres of land in northeastern Minnesota. About 25% of the lands involved in the decision are held by private citizens who own surface land but not the underlying mineral rights.

The Executive Council delayed its decision on the leases three separate times, amid protests by land owners. The delays were prompted by concerns about the lack of public understanding of state mining laws, some of which were written in 1870. Thursday’s decision on the matter came amid further protests.

The approved leases only allow exploratory work. The establishment of commercial mining operations on any of the lands would require a lengthy permitting process.

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