Top officials from Chilean mining company Antofagasta are in Washington this week meeting with key Minnesota lawmakers and their staffs about the company’s proposed Twin Metals copper mine near Ely.
Antofagasta is sole owner of the fledgling Twin Metals Minnesota company that wants to build a copper mine along the Kawishiwi River and on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Federal regulatory agencies are critical to the project because they hold key access to mineral and exploration rights where Twin Metals wants to mine. The Bureau of Land Management of the Interior Department currently is deciding whether to renew some of those leases.
Samantha Bisogno, spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Crosby, said the congressman “met with them and received an update on what Antofagasta has been doing on the Twin Metals project to date and what the company is committed to do in terms of protecting the BWCA and surrounding areas when it submits a mining operation plan.”
The Antofagasta contingent also met with staff of Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. Franken was not available at the time of the meeting, a spokesman said.
Twin Metals and Antofagasta representatives met with “a number of stakeholders in D.C. to discuss the current status of the Twin Metals project and various federal mining issues,” said Bob McFarlin, spokesman for Twin Metals. He described the meetings as “fairly routine.”
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