Twin Metals Brings Federal Lawsuit to Counter Regulatory Misconduct
Twin Metals wants to build an underground mine in northeast Minnesota that would produce copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum group metals. The company said its federal mineral leases were illegally canceled by the DoI earlier this year. In doing so, the department contradicted the position it asserted and successfully defended in a federal court just four years ago. The lawsuit seeks to restore the leases and other rights, which will restart the environmental review process as required by law for the company’s mine plan.
“We are standing up for our right to a fair and consistent environmental review of our proposed mining project,” said Twin Metals’ Director of Operations Dean DeBeltz. “Our plan is backed by decades of exploration and analysis and is rooted in the most environmentally sophisticated design, which is tailored for our project location and mineral deposit. It deserves a fair evaluation by federal regulators based on its merits.”
Twin Metals believes its project is fundamental to America’s effort to supply the materials needed to combat the climate crisis; to strengthen our national security and domestic supply chains; and create high-paying American jobs. Based on possession of its valid mineral rights, Twin Metals has invested more than $550 million in the development of its project over the past 12 years. The extensive environmental, engineering, hydrogeological and community engagement work resulted in the submittal of the company’s formal mine plan in late 2019.
The project will be located in an area where congress has allowed mining for more than a century. Twin Metals said the mine will be one of the most sustainable and technologically advanced mines in the country. The project’s unique geology and mining methods ensure that there is no risk to the environment from acid rock drainage. Twin Metals plans to use a dry-stack tailings management system, which eliminates the risk of a dam failure. The mine will be an underground operation, so the surface footprint would minimal — about 10%-15% of the size of a comparable open pit mine.
Submission of the mine plan, under the regulatory process established in law, should have kicked off the environmental review process. Instead, the company claims the federal agencies executed a coordinated and illegal attack on the Twin Metals project, and on the communities of northeast Minnesota.
“As an Ely native and fourth-generation miner, I know first-hand how important this project is to help advance America’s clean energy goals while creating good jobs here at home,” DeBeltz said. “I’m proud to be part of a company that is so deeply committed to bringing growth back to this area and doing so in a responsible way.”