ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota regulators have concluded that state rules governing where copper-nickel mines can be built are insufficient to protect the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from noise and light pollution, creating another potential obstacle to the proposed Twin Metals mine in northeastern Minnesota.
But the Department of Natural Resources declined as part of that decision Wednesday to declare a watershed that flows into the Boundary Waters off-limits to copper-nickel mining altogether, which had been a goal of the environmental group that challenged the regulations, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
“We concluded that Minnesota’s nonferrous mine siting rule is largely protective of the Boundary Waters … but should be reopened to better address the potential for mining-related noise and light impacts,” DNR commissioner Sarah Strommen said in a statement.
Twin Metals, a proposed underground mine near Ely, outside the wilderness, was already in trouble. It suffered a major blow last year when President Joe Biden’s administration canceled two federal mineral rights leases that were critical to the project, a decision the company is challenging in court.
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