Private Mineral Exploration Drilling

Diamond drill core bit

Drill core (cut in half) inside diamond drill core bit

Exploration Drilling Data and Maps

The MN DNR's Division of Lands and Minerals compiles data related to private exploration drilling in Minnesota. Provided here is data and maps pertaining to exploration drilling in Minnesota since 1987.

If you have questions please contact:
Glenn Melchert, Geologist

MN DNR - Division of Lands and Minerals
1525 Third Avenue East,
Hibbing, MN 55746
tel. 218-231-8464
fax 218-262-7328
glenn.melchert@state.mn.us

Jump to a topic:

  • 2013 table Link
  • 2012 map and tables Link
  • 2011 map and tables Link
  • 2005-2010 map and tables Link
  • 1999-2004 map and tables Link
  • 1993-1998 map and tables Link
  • 1987-1992 map and tables Link
  • 1987-2013 chart Link

 

2013

Exploration drilling in 2013

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations completed in 2013
  • Associated table with drill hole information; County, Township, Range, Section, Company, Drill Hole Name, Depth (if known), Date Drilled, Online Link to Minnesota Department of Health Form, and Online Link to General Map Location.

The map and table do not show 10 drill holes drilled by US Steel for iron ore in the biwabik iron formation.

 

Learn more:

Did you know?

  • Mineral exploration drill holes make up less than 1% of all drilling (water wells and other) in the state.
  • Drill holes are sealed according to state law.
  • It costs an estimated $100,000 to drill 1,000 feet of drill core ($100 per/ft). This is an estimate and includes costs such as; geologist, site selection, geophysics, salaries, and drilling costs. 
  • In 2012 there was 447,000 feet of rock core drilled compared with 435,000 feet in 2011.
  • An estimated 84% of the 435,000 feet of core drilled in 2011 was completed by Twin Metals Minnesota at their Maturi deposit in Lake County, MN.
  • According to a recent analysis of exploration drilling on state metallic minerals leases (46 years of data); only 2.4% of all state leased parcels had exploration drilling completed on them.

*The PDF includes embedded 'speaker notes' with additional information for select slides. The speaker notes can be viewed in Adobe Reader or Acrobat, and within the following internet browsers; Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, & Safari. Google Chrome does not display the speaker notes.

 

Table: Exploration Drilling in 2013

Exploration Company Number of Drill Holes Primary Mineral Type(s) Counties
DMC USA LLC 24 Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Lake
Encampment Minerals 1 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
Kennecott Exploration Co. 38 Cu+Ni+PGM Aitkin
Minerals Processing Corp. 4 Cu+Ni+PGM Aitkin
Teck American Inc. 72 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
Twin Metals Minnesota 99 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis and Lake
^US Steel 10 Iron St. Louis
Total 248    

Note, the Primary Mineral Type is an interpretation for this summary table.

^Iron exploration when it is done outside of a "permit to mine" area.


 

2012

Exploration drilling in 2012

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations completed in 2012
  • Associated table with drill hole information; County, Township, Range, Section, Company, Drill Hole Name, Depth (if known), Date Drilled, Online Link to Minnesota Department of Health Form, and Online Link to General Map Location.

The map and table do not show 11 drill holes drilled by Hibbing Taconite and 1 drill hole drilled by ArcelorMittal in 2012.

 

Table: Exploration Drilling in 2012

Exploration Company Number of Drill Holes Primary Mineral Type(s) Counties
Cooperative Minerals Resources 4 Manganese Crow Wing
DMC USA LLC 27 Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Lake
Encampment Minerals 5 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
HTX Minerals 1 Cu+Ni+PGM Aitkin
Kennecott Exploration Co. 29 Cu+Ni+PGM Aitkin
Twin Metals Minnesota 131 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis and Lake
^Hibbing Taconite 11 Iron St. Louis
^ArcelorMittal 1 Iron St. Louis
Total 209    

Note, the Primary Mineral Type is an interpretation for this summary table.

^Iron exploration when it is done outside of a "permit to mine" area.


 

2011

Exploration drilling in 2011

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations completed in 2011
  • Associated table with drill hole information; County, Township, Range, Section, Company, Drill Hole Name, Depth (if known), Date Drilled, Online Link to Minnesota Department of Health Form, and Online Link to General Map Location.

The map and table do not show 10 drill holes drilled by United States Steel in 2011.

Table: Exploration Drilling in 2011

Exploration Company Number of Drill Holes Primary Mineral Type(s) Counties
Cardero Resources 11 Iron and Titanium St. Louis
Cooperative Mineral Resources 4 Manganese Crow Wing
Duluth Metals 8 Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Lake
Encampment Minerals 7 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
Kennecott Exploration Co. 6 Cu+Ni+PGM Aitkin and Carlton
MMG USA 2 Cu+Ni+PGM Brown and Blue Earth
Prime Meridian Resources 3 Cu+Ni+PGM Koochiching
Twin Metals Minnesota 133 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis and Lake
^United States Steel 10 Iron St. Louis
Western Metals 4 Cu+Ni+PGM Lyon and Renville
Total 188    

Note, the Primary Mineral Type is an interpretation for this summary table.

^Iron exploration when it is done outside of a "permit to mine" area.

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2005-2010

Exploration drilling between 2005-2010

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations between 2005-2010.
  • Associated table with drill hole information; County, Township, Range, Section, Company, Drill Hole Name, Depth (if known), Date Drilled, Online Link to Minnesota Department of Health Form, and Online Link to General Map Location.

Table: Exploration Drilling 2005-2010

Exploration Company Number of Drill Holes Primary Mineral Type(s) Counties
ACME-OCHS Brick and Stone 19 Kaolin Clay Brown, Redwood, and Renville
Cardero Resources 36 Iron and Titanium St. Louis
Duluth Metals/Twin Metals 205 Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Lake
Encampment Minerals 37 Cu+Ni+PGM Lake and St. Louis
Franconia Minerals 50 Cu+Ni+PGM Lake and St. Louis
Kennecott Exploration Co. 124 Cu+Ni+PGM, Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb) Aitkin, Carlton, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, and Stearns
Lehmann Exploration 14 Gold Itasca and St. Louis
^Mesabi Nugget 3 Iron St. Louis
Minerals Processing Corp. 11 Cu+Ni+PGM, Zn, Pb Aitkin and Carlton
PolyMet Mining Corp. 234 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
Teck American Inc. 137 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
^United States Steel Corp. 49 Iron Itasca and St. Louis
Western Metals LLC 5 Cu+Ni+PGM Lyon
WMC 5 Cu+Ni+PGM Renville and Yellow Medicine
Total 929    

Note, the Primary Mineral Type is an interpretation for this summary table.

^Iron exploration outside of permit to mine

 

Table: Exploration Drilling 2005-2010 By Year

Exploration Company 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Total
ACME-OCHS Brick and Stone       16 3   19
Cardero Resources           36 36
Duluth Metals/Twin Metals   10 72 72 2 49 205
Encampment Minerals       24 13   37
Franconia Minerals 4 7 16 12   11 50
Kennecott Exploration Co. 19   15 52 17 21 124
Lehmann Exploration         4 10 14
^Mesabi Nugget       3     3
Minerals Processing Corp.             11
PolyMet Mining Corp. 107   61     66 234
Teck American Inc.     22 115     137
^United States Steel Corp.     8 28 7 6 49
Western Metals LLC           5 5
WMC 5           5
Total 135 17 194 322 46 215 929

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1999-2004

Exploration drilling between 1999-2004

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations completed between 1999-2004
  • Associated table with drill hole information; County, Township, Range, Section, Company, Drill Hole Name, Depth (if known), Date Drilled, Online Link to Minnesota Department of Health Form, and Online Link to General Map Location.

 

Table: Exploration Drilling 1999-2004

Exploration Company Number of Drill Holes Primary Mineral Type(s) Counties
BHP Minerals International Inc. 3 Iron St. Louis
Encampment Minerals 6 Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM) Lake
Kennecott Exploration Co. 25 Cu+Ni+PGM, Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb) Aitkin, Carlton, Morrison, and Stearns
Lehmann Exploration 28 Cu+Ni+PGM Lake and St. Louis
Rendrag Inc. 1 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
Wallbridge America LTD 3 Cu+Ni+PGM Lake
WMC 1 Cu+Ni+PGM Renville
Total 67    

Note, the Primary Mineral Type is an interpretation for this summary table.

 

Table: Exploration Drilling 1999-2004 By Year

Exploration Company 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Total
BHP Minerals International Inc. 2 1         3
Encampment Minerals           6 6
Kennecott Exploration Co.       3 11 11 25
Lehmann Exploration 2 12 7 6 1   28
Rendrag Inc. 1           1
Wallbridge America LTD 1 1 1       3
WMC 5         1 1
Total 6 14 8 9 12 18 67

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1993-1998

Exploration drilling between 1993-1998

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations completed between 1993-1998
  • Associated table with drill hole information; County, Township, Range, Section, Company, Drill Hole Name, Depth (if known), Date Drilled, Online Link to Minnesota Department of Health Form, and Online Link to General Map Location.

 

Table: Exploration Drilling 1993-1998

Exploration Company Number of Drill Holes Primary Mineral Type(s) Counties
American Shield 5 Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM) St. Louis
Cominco 16 Cu+Ni+PGM, Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb) Aitkin, Carlton, Lake of the Woods, St. Louis, and Wilkin
Exmin Corporation 8 Diamond Beltrami, Koochiching, Marshall, and Roseau
Great Lakes Exploration 1 Cu+Ni+PGM Carlton
Lehmann 2 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
Phelps Dodge 3 Cu+Ni+PGM Roseau
Total 35    

Note, the Primary Mineral Type is an interpretation for this summary table.

 

Table: Exploration Drilling 1993-1998 By Year

Exploration Company 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 Total
American Shield   4     1   5
Cominco   1 9 5   1 16
Exmin Corporation 2   1   5   8
Great Lakes Exploration 1           1
Lehmann     1     1 2
Phelps Dodge 3           3
Total 6 5 11 5 6 2 35

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1987-1992

Exploration drilling between 1987-1992

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations completed between 1993-1998
  • Associated table with drill hole information; County, Township, Range, Section, Company, Drill Hole Name, Depth (if known), Date Drilled, Online Link to Minnesota Department of Health Form, and Online Link to General Map Location.

 

Table: Exploration Drilling 1987-1992

Exploration Company Number of Drill Holes Primary Mineral Type(s) Counties
American Shield 1 Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM) St. Louis
Bear Creek 1 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
BHP Minerals International Inc. 5 Gold Koochiching and St. Louis
Coca Mines 19 Gold St. Louis
Cominco 1 Base Metals Norman
Exmin Corporation 30 Diamond Beltrami, Benton, Chippewa, Clay, Clearwater, Koochiching, Lac Qui Parle, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Redwood, Renville, St. Louis, Stearns, Stevens, and Wilkin
Exxon 2 Cu+Ni+PGM Roseau and Beltrami
FMC 2 Gold St. Louis
Great Lakes Exploration 5 Cu+Ni+PGM, Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb) Carlton
Hibbing Taconite Land Co. 31 Iron St. Louis
INCO 12 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
Kennecott Exploration 1 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
Kerr-McGee Corp. 8 Gold Koochiching and St. Louis
Lehmann 14 Cu+Ni+PGM  and Gold Itasca (Gold), Lake, and St. Louis
Meridian L&M Co. 18 Gold Itasca
Newmont Exploration Ltd. 134 Gold Beltrami, Itasca, Koochiching, Marshall, Norman, Roseau, and St. Louis
Noranda Exploration 27 Gold Beltrami, Itasca, Norman, and St. Louis
Normin Mining Co. 27 Cu+Ni+PGM Itasca and Koochiching
Phelps Dodge 2 Cu+Ni+PGM Lake of the Woods
Resource Exploration 10 Cu+Ni+PGM St. Louis
Rhude and Fryberger Inc. 11 Gold St. Louis
Total 361    

Note, the Primary Mineral Type is an interpretation for this summary table.

 

Table: Exploration Drilling 1987-1992 By Year

Exploration Company 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 Total
American Shield         1   1
Bear Creek   1         1
BHP Minerals International Inc.   1 3 1     5
Coca Mines   19         19
Cominco         1   1
Exmin Corporation 4 7 4 11 4   30
Exxon 1 1         2
FMC     2       2
Great Lakes Exploration   5         5
Hibbing Taconite Land Co.         31   31
INCO     12       12
Kennecott Exploration       1     1
Kerr-McGee Corp.   6 2       8
Lehmann 5 2 3 4     14
Meridian L&M Co. 12 6         18
Newmont Exploration Ltd. 9 19 20 9 72 5 134
Noranda Exploration 3 5 1 10 8   27
Normin Mining Co. 4 6 16 1     27
Phelps Dodge           2 2
Resource Exploration   6   4     10
Rhude and Fryberger Inc. 7   4       11
Total 45 84 67 41 117 7 361

 


 

1987-2013

*Exploration drilling per year (1987-2013)

Drilling 1987-2011

Chart displaying number of *exploration drill holes per year (1987-2013).

Click to enlarge

*Does not include scientific drill holes drilled by the Minnesota Geological Survey, MN DNR, or Natural Resources Research Institute.

 

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