St Louis County Township joins mining oppositionA second northeastern Minnesota township has said no thanks to mineral exploration and copper mining.
A second northeastern Minnesota township in as many months has said no
thanks to mineral exploration and copper mining.
The town board of Eagles Nest Township in St. Louis County outside Ely voted 3-0 last week for a resolution that supports the earlier action in
Stony River Township in adjacent Lake County.
Eagles Nest supervisors also called on Oct. 11 for a "permanent moratorium on the sale of minerals leases in Eagles Nest Township."
But Eagles Nest supervisors went further, calling on the Minnesota Legislature to amend the state’s mining statutes that they said are unbalanced in favor of mining companies and private landowners. While the resolution appears to have little power, it’s another sign of growing unrest in areas outside the traditional Iron Range now targeted for exploration and mining for copper, nickel, and other valuable metals.
The two townships include many of the mineral leases the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to lease to mining companies for
exploration for 50 years – many of them under private lands where the landowner doesn’t own the mineral rights. The state’s Executive Council has put those proposed leases on hold until 2012.
Many residents appear especially concerned with old state laws that seem to give mining companies guaranteed access to private property under which the state or other interests hold the mineral rights — even if the landowner doesn’t want exploration there.
The resolution went on to say "there is no convincing, objective evidence that metallic sulfide mining for copper, nickel, and other nonferrous metals can be done in Minnesota without impairing the water quality of lakes, rivers, and groundwater."
In September, the three member Stony River Township board of supervisors voted unanimously for a resolution that calls for the state of Minnesota to enact a metallic sulfide mining moratorium law, and, until such a moratorium is enacted, to deny all requests for permits to prospect or develop metallic sulfide mines in the township.