Biden Administration Cancels Mining Leases Near Wilderness Area – by Hiroko Tabuchi (New York Times – January 26, 2022)

The leases, reinstated during the Trump years, would have allowed a Chilean mining conglomerate to dig for copper and nickel near the Boundary Waters wilderness in Minnesota.

The Biden administration said Wednesday that it had canceled two mining leases that would have allowed a copper mine to be built near an area of pristine wilderness in Minnesota.

The Interior Department said it had determined that the leases, held by Twin Metals Minnesota, a subsidiary of the Chilean mining conglomerate Antofagasta, were improperly reinstated by the Trump administration in 2019.

President Obama had previously moved to block the mining project, declining to renew the leases. But beginning in the early weeks of the Trump presidency, the administration worked at high levels to remove roadblocks to the mine, The New York Times reported in 2019.

That move followed discussions between Antofagasta executives and senior administration officials. The billionaire Andrónico Luksic, whose family controls Antofagasta, also rented a $5.5 million house in Washington to Ivanka Trump, the daughter of former president Donald J. Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, early in the Trump administration when the couple was first moving to Washington, D.C.

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