“I can’t answer” whether the Twin Metals mine will ever be licensed

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland declined to say on Friday whether she would allow Twin Metals’ copper-nickel mine project in northern Minnesota to proceed under any conditions.

Haaland briefly fielded questions from reporters during a visit to St. Paul to promote federal funding for the restoration of urban parks and trails.

His agency canceled two mining leases for Twin Metals in January due to concerns about its proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In doing so, President Joe Biden’s administration reversed a decision made under President Donald Trump to renew the leases.

“I think it’s important for us to make sure that any activity takes place on this important land that we just assessed – to make sure that we don’t do anything that will harm the land,” Haaland told reporters. When asked if the administration would allow the project to move forward, she replied, “I can’t answer that right now.”

The Biden administration’s January decision satisfied Native American tribes and environmentalists who had long sought to block the project, while angering the mining industry and Republicans.
Speaking ahead of Haaland’s event, U.S. Representative Pete Stauber said the Biden administration had put up “roadblocks” to proposed mining projects in his district.

“Secretary Haaland and this administration have obstructed the nation’s mining of critical minerals,” said Stauber, R-Hermantown.

In turn, environmentalists pointed to polls that suggest a majority of Minnesotans oppose mining near boundary waters. Environmental groups said Twin Metals would be hazardous to the natural area.

A copper-nickel mine project in northeast Minnesota faces a difficult future after the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the cancellation of two federal mining leases and the DNR entered into mining contracts. environmental study for the project.

Northern Minnesota has large deposits of nickel and cobalt, two key components of electric vehicle batteries. Electric vehicles have been a major focus of the Biden administration.

A second mining company, Talon Metals, said it signed a deal with Tesla to supply nickel to the world’s most valuable automaker from a proposed mine west of Cloquet.
Renewal of urban parks

During his visit to St. Paul, Haaland announced that Minnesota would receive $9 million for renovation projects at three city parks. They are: Willard Park in Minneapolis, Rice Recreation Center in St. Paul, and Soldiers Field Park in Rochester.

The money is Minnesota’s share of a $61 million federal program for parks and trails in neighborhoods that lack outdoor recreation spaces.

Haaland conversed with the senses. Americans Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, U.S. Representative Betty McCollum, Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan at Midway Peace Park in St. Paul. The recently completed park received a federal grant in 2019.

Betty K. Park