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Prospecting petition to be filed today

Twin Metals staff mapping a mining site
Twin Metals staff mapping a mining site

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Citizens in northeastern Minnesota plan to file a petition today objecting to the state’s plans to auction off more metallic minerals exploration leases.

The Associated Press reports the petitioners say the potential for new prospecting and mining could have a significant impact on the environment. Included in the leases is an area about two miles west of Tettegouche State Park in Lake County.

A copy of the petition provided to The Associated Press asks for the Department of Natural Resources to prepare an environmental assessment worksheet before awarding the leases. The petition says the leases could affect trout streams and other sensitive natural resources, drinking water wells, popular recreational trails and property values. More than 140 people have signed.

The DNR announced plans to auction the mineral rights to 64,000 acres earlier this month amid growing interest in the large untapped reserves of copper, nickel and precious metals under northern Minnesota. In addition to the Lake County area, the affected lands are in St. Louis County, in and near the city of Hoyt Lakes and in a rural area of eastern Aitkin County.

Matt Tyler, a self-employed logging contractor from Finland organized the petition. He says, “There are quite a few folks who were not happy to hear this was coming down. What it comes down to is communities should be consulted about these things. The state shouldn’t set things out by decree.”

The DNR plans to open the new bids Oct. 24. The Executive Council could consider them as early as its next scheduled meeting Dec. 6.