Generating Revenue on School Trust Lands

Picture of gravel site on school trust lands

School Trust Land Gravel Site

Construction Aggregate Leasing

The Department of Natural Resources offers leases to private entities for the commercial production of construction aggregates (sand and gravel, crushed stone) or landscape stone on School Trust Lands and other State owned land types.  The DNR also offers commercial mining leases of State-owned stockpiles from iron mining operations.

  • The DNR administers approximately 2.5 million acres of School Trust Lands and has a fiduciary responsibility to generate revenue from those lands for the Permanent School Fund.  The sale of construction aggregates is one way to generate revenue. 
  • Since 2000, royalties from construction aggregate leasing on School Trust Lands has generated 3.25 million dollars.
  • In addition to those royalties, approximately $875,000 was deposited in 2010 into the Permanent School Fund due to a pipeline encumbrance of significant sand and gravel resources on School Trust Lands. 

What are construction aggregates?
Map of School Trust Fund Lands
DNR webpage about School Trust Fund Lands
Index map of state earth material leases
Graph showing royalties from aggregate leasing on School Trust Lands

If your business would like to learn more about construction aggregate leasing opportunities, please contact:

Glenn Melchert, Geologist
MN DNR - Division of Lands and Minerals
Tel. 218-231-8464

Lease Offerings Available - Duluth Sites

Index map for three gravel sites near Duluth for lease bid offerings

Index map locating the three sites in connection with a bid offering for a state earth material lease Click for a full size view of this map as a PDF

Gravel lease opportunity in St. Louis County, MN

This lease is available on a first come first serve basis.

If you are interested in this lease opportunity, required documents, site information, and sample lease contract with exhibits are available here:


Earth Material Leasing Information as of September 2013

A state lease called an Earth Materials lease is required prior to mining. It has certain requirements, including special conditions, environmental protections and controls, and reclamation requirements.  The lessee must carry the specified insurance.  Minimum annual production quantities typically apply.
Index map of Earth Material Leases and Potential Sites on School Trust Lands

Active Earth Materials Leases

These sites are currently under lease.  Aggregate is available from the current lessee.  As of September 2013, the MN DNR manages 27 active earth materials leases across the state.

Historic Earth Materials Leases

These sites have a history of leasing and mining of construction aggregates.  As of September 2013, there were 145 inactive sites where earth material mining occurred.  Please inquire regarding availability for lease.  One of MN DNR’s objectives for generating revenue for the Permanent School Trust Fund is to lease historical sites.  These sites are also subject to site-specific land management requirements. 

Sites Being Considered for Future Earth Materials Leases

These sites are candidates for future lease offerings.  This list changes frequently as sites with marketable aggregate potential are discovered and assessed. Some sites may be available now with a short-term lease such as one to provide aggregate for a road project.  Interested parties are encouraged to inquire regarding availability for lease. 

Please note that the DNR does not operate a retail business to sell stone products or construction aggregates.  However, if you have a question regarding a request to purchase commercial quantities of materials from our lessees, we will provide contact information to you for our lessees.  Please send an email inquiry to Glenn Melchert.

Management Plan for Earth Materials Leases

land The DNR management plan for each site strives to conserve the aggregate resources, minimize environmental impacts, and includes a timely reclamation to create a post-mining land use.  The DNR’s goal of reclamation is to create a natural-appearing and functioning landscape that is safe, stable and non-eroding, nonpolluting, and has value for timber production, recreation, and potential alternative future revenue options. 


Permanent School Fund and School Trust Lands Information


"The legislature intends that it is the goal of the permanent school fund to secure the maximum long-term economic return from the school trust lands consistent with the fiduciary responsibilities imposed by the trust relationship established in the Minnesota Constitution, with sound natural resource conservation and management principles, and with other specific policy provided in state law." Minnesota Statutes:  127A.31 Goal of the Permanent School Fund


The DNR has completed an operational order This is a PDF file.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. that clarifies its policy on management of School Trust Lands. The Operational Order sets forth the clear priority that School Trust Lands are to be managed to maximize long term economic return and it clarifies the application of the statutory language requiring the DNR to manage the lands consistent with sound natural resource conservation and management principles. The Operational Order also requires the agency to implement a number of business best practices related to managing and reporting revenues and costs. Lastly, the Operational Order sets up a management structure and action items to be executed to ensure accountability, greater transparency and oversight.


General information about Minnesota's School Trust Lands can be found on the MN DNR's School Trust Lands web page.


The Minnesota Legislature established the Legislative Permanent School Fund Commission (LPSFC) to review DNR land management policies, advise DNR on the management of trust land, and recommend necessary changes in statute, policy, and implementation in order to insure provident utilization of the permanent school fund lands. Minnesota Statutes:  127A.30 Legislative Permanent School Fund Commission

Legislative Permanent School Fund Commission


DNR School Trust Land Reports