MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The developers of a proposed copper-nickel mine upstream from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota sued the Biden administration Monday to seek the reinstatement of federal mineral rights leases that are crucial to the $1.7 billion project.
Twin Metals Minnesota alleged in its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, that the Department of the Interior acted illegally earlier this year when it canceled the leases. The company asked the court to declare that those leases remain valid and in force, so that it can proceed with the environmental review and permitting process.
The proposed underground mine, southeast of Ely near Birch Lake, is struggling to survive amid shifting political winds. The Obama administration, in its final weeks, chose not to renew the two leases, which had dated back more than 50 years.
The Trump administration reversed that decision and reinstated the leases. But the Biden administration canceled the leases in January after reviving a potential 20-year mining moratorium in that area that the Obama administration tried to launch.
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