Mining company loses bid to revive Minnesota copper, nickel project – by Clark Mindock (Reuters – September 7, 2023)

Sept 7 (Reuters) – A U.S. judge has rejected a bid by a subsidiary of Chilean mining company Antofagasta Plc(ANTO.L) to restore canceled mineral leases for a proposed $1.7 billion Minnesota copper and nickel mine, which the Biden administration had blocked over concerns it could pollute a major recreational waterway.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday dismissed Twin Metals’ 2022 lawsuit, which challenged the U.S. Interior Department’s decision earlier that year to cancel leases for an underground mine near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The project would have been one of the biggest U.S. sources of metals needed to build electric vehicle batteries and other clean energy technologies.

The Interior Department canceled the leases and other mining approvals after determining they were illegally renewed despite U.S. Forest Service objections related to concerns that mining could pollute the wilderness’s streams and lakes with potentially toxic waste.

Cooper said his court lacks jurisdiction over Twin Metals’ claims under the Administrative Procedure Act, because the rights allegedly violated by the government stem from the terms of its leasing contract with the U.S. government – not procedural legal rights outlined in that law.

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