The start of operations at Twin Metals’ copper mine in Minnesota hinges on a legal opinion from the US Department of Interior (DOI) which would affect the mine’s approval process.
According to Twin Metals, a subsidiary of Chile’s Antofagasta, this project has reserves estimated at 4.4bn mt of ore containing copper and nickel, among other strategic metals.
Once operational, the mine is expected to process up to 20,000mt of ore per day, with forecasts indicating that it could reach a total production of 2.64mn mt of copper and 560,192mt of nickel over the life of the mine.
The operation of this mine is being opposed by environmentalists due to its proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, on the United States-Canada border. Its surface is controlled by the US Forest Services, while the subsoil resources are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, part of the Department of the Interior.
In 2016, the Obama administration imposed a 20-year moratorium on mining in this area, which was lifted by the Trump administration in 2018.
In January 2020, Minnesota congresswoman Betty McCollum introduced legislation to permanently ban the mining of copper, nickel, and precious metals in the state.