Bureau of Land Management files intent to create environmental impact statement on proposed Twin Metals mine

The federal government is taking another step in the proposed Twin Metals mine project, which would be built near Ely, Minnesota about five miles away from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Monday, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management filed a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for Twin Metals. During this process, the bureau will analyze the potential impacts of issuing a proposed new preference right lease and approving the mine plan of operation. The bureau will also accept comment from the public during this period. The agency will consult with Native American tribes in the area.

The bureau has identified three preliminary issues with the project: potential for acid-rock drainage or water quality impacts, potential impact on regional socioeconomics and tourism, and possible impact on recreation and the wilderness.

Under the proposed mining plan, Twin Metals would mine copper, nickel, cobalt, precious and platinum-group metals on roughly 1,156 acres of land, 400 of which is federal land managed by the Forest Service.

Tom Landwehr, Executive Director of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, condemned Monday's filing and issued the following statement in response:

“As the nation reels from the pandemic and social unrest, it is telling that the Administration’s priority is a reckless push for risky sulfide-ore copper mining on the doorstep of Minnesota’s crown jewel.”
“They have shredded the federal Clean Water Act, gutted the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), arbitrarily reinstated expired leases, made a joke of the environmental review process and ignored citizens, cancelled critical studies, and suppressed important science, all with the with goal of handing over America’s most popular Wilderness to be exploited for the benefit of a Chilean multinational mining company.”

“America has 24 mines producing copper.  There is no shortage of copper, but there is only one Boundary Waters."