Lands and Minerals News Graphic

News and Public Notices

The MN DNR's Division of Lands and Minerals releases information to the public regarding many subjects including but not limited to:

  • state land sales
  • nonferrous metallic minerals lease sales
  • exploration plans for nonferrous metallic minerals leases
  • construction aggregate maps
  • data releases

This webpage provides a home for all Lands and Minerals related news releases. If you would like to be notified of these news releases please sign up below with your email address.


July 2015

July 2, 2015 - DNR to sell land in Pine County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will conduct a sealed bid auction for 81 acres in Pine County. The parcel for sale includes frontage along the Tamarack River, buildings, and recreational opportunities. Open houses are scheduled 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on both Thursday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 8.

Sealed bids must be completed on the official bid form, and must be received at the DNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4045, no later than 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13.

The opening of the sealed bids is open to the public, and will take place at the DNR Central Office Lobby Conference Room at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 14.

Bidders are advised to view the property data sheet, be familiar with the property, minimum bid price, and terms and conditions of sale prior to submitting a bid.

To obtain the property data sheet or sealed bid form and envelope, call 651-259-5432, 800-657-3929, or email landsale@dnr.state.mn.us. Specify property #58024.

The property data sheet is also available online at

DNR Land Sale Webpage

 

July 1, 2015 - Exploration proposed on state nonferrous metallic minerals leases

A business that is exploring for metallic mineral deposits on state mineral leases, Vermillion Gold, submitted an Exploration Plan to the DNR on June 25, 2015. The exploration activities are proposed on two state nonferrous metallic mineral leases in St. Louis County, near the city of Virginia. The company proposes to drill 7 exploratory borings on state mineral leases in Sections 16 and 22 of Township 58 North, Range 17 West. The explorer will utilize existing trails to access the majority of the exploratory boring sites. The access trail in Section 22 needs to be extended approximately 600 feet farther in length to access the proposed exploratory boring sites. The state of Minnesota owns the surface in Section 16. There are private commercial property owners in Section 22. The explorer is working on access agreements with the commercial property surface owners in Section 22 and will not do exploration work until agreements are in effect there. Vermillion Gold has been exploring for gold in this area since the year 2007.

A summary report and associated maps of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page:

Exploration Plan Webpage

 


June 2015

June 30, 2015 - DNR Open-File Project 392: Regional Survey of Gold in Till, Cook Area, St. Louis County

The DNR is today releasing gold grain counts and associated analytical results from thirty-three (33) glacial sediment samples collected in Northern St. Louis County, at locations where State- or County-controlled surface ownership overlies State-owned or State-administered mineral rights. This is the latest data release for a DNR geological investigation that began in July, 2012, within an approximately 200 square mile area of historical gold and base metal exploration that lies between Cook and Tower. In this region, an Archean granite-greenstone terrane is overlain by relatively thin layers of Rainy Lobe till and other glacially-derived sediments. These are ideal geological conditions for using gold grain counts and heavy mineral geochemistry in glacial sediment samples to explore for proximal bedrock mineralization.

The 33 glacial sediment samples were collected in Fall 2014. Sample locations were based on previous results from 139 glacial sediment samples that were collected within the project area in October 2012 and October 2013, processed by Overburden Drilling Management (ODM), and assayed by Activation Laboratories Limited (ActLabs). The DNR has previously released those results to the public.

The 33 glacial sediment samples were sent to ODM for heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) separation and gold grain counts The results of this processing and gold grain analysis were reported to the DNR in a laboratory report dated June 10, 2015 (see this data release for a sample location map). More than 90% of the recovered gold grains were less than 100 microns in size, and barely visible to the naked eye. These grain sizes are typical for gold in Archean granite-greenstone terranes.

Representative splits of the silt+clay fraction and magnetic HMC from each of the samples were sent to ActLabs for analysis. This data release includes the ActLabs analytical results, provided in reports dated June 15, 2015 and June 29, 2015. Note that silt+clay fraction analytical results were also obtained from 105 archived Cook Area samples that were collected in 2012.

Today’s data release includes June 2015 laboratory reports, maps, and associated spreadsheet files. These documents, and a more detailed description of the project, are available at the DNR’s web site.

Survey of Gold in Till, Cook Area

Note: While the identification of gold grains in glacial sediment samples may bolster the assessed mineral potential of an area, it is not a determinable test for bedrock mineralization. This type of geological investigation should be considered only the first step in determining whether there are bedrock gold deposits in the area. The DNR uses this data for land management purposes.

 

June 22, 2015 - Notice of Intent to Hold State Metallic Minerals Lease Sale

The Department of Natural Resources plans to hold a sale of state-owned metallic mineral leases for sites in northern Minnesota in fall 2015.

The DNR invites public input on the areas under consideration, which include sites in Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching and St. Louis counties, totaling 103,000 acres. 

The “Notice of Intent to Hold State Metallic Minerals Lease Sale” was published in the EQB Monitor and State Register Monday, June 22 and is available on the DNR’s website at: 

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/lease_sale/index.html

This will be the state’s 34th metallic minerals lease sale and the first using a new process designed to increase transparency, provide better access to information and affords an opportunity for public input.  

The website includes screening criteria used by the DNR in its review of potential areas for lease as well as an interactive web map showing the areas under consideration in relation to outdoor recreation areas and natural features. The public is invited to provide written input about the sites to the DNR. Information about how to submit input is posted on the website. 

The lease sale involves nonferrous minerals, which are all metals except iron ore and taconite.  Examples of nonferrous metallic minerals are: copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, gold, silver, cobalt, chromium, zinc, lead, bismuth, tin, tungsten, tantalum and niobium. 

Under Minnesota statute, the DNR is charged with managing state-owned minerals for exploration and development. Revenue generated from state metallic mineral leases benefits the schools, the university, and local taxing districts. On average, the DNR holds a metallic mineral lease sale about every one to two years.

Following the receipt of bids, the state’s Executive Council, comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state auditor will make final decisions about whether to approve new state metallic minerals leases. 

A lease does not automatically grant the leaseholder permission to mine. Before a state-owned parcel can be mined, the leaseholder must comply with all legal requirements for environmental review and permitting. Most state metallic minerals leases end within five years. Historically, about 2 percent of areas under state metallic minerals leases have one or more exploratory borings.

 

June 4, 2015 - Notice of Sale of State Dimension Stone Leases for Two Sites in Lake County

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides notice of a state mineral lease offering for dimension stone in school trust fund lands and state administered tax forfeited lands for two sites in Lake County, Minnesota. The dimension stone from the proposed sites consists of solid bedrock that could be cut into large blocks at or near the land surface. Finished end uses of this stone include items such as counter tops, memorials, tiles, and wall panels. The successful bidder must later obtain permits before any mining can begin. The bid opening is scheduled to be held on June 30, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. The sale will take place in the 4th floor conference room, Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155-4045.

More information can be found at the DNR's Dimension Stone Lease Sale webpage:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/dimstone_lease.html

 


April 2015

April 22, 2015 - Exploration Proposed on State Minerals Leases

Kennecott Exploration Company submitted an Exploration Plan on April 15, 2015 for exploration activities to be conducted on 3 state mineral leases in Aitkin County, near the city of Tamarack. The company proposes to drill approximately 10 to 25 exploratory borings and conduct geophysical surveys in the bore holes and on the ground. The exploration activities would commence on or after May 15, 2015 and all activities completed by November 6, 2015. The explorer has agreements or leases for the surface and mineral ownership on the parcels involved. Kennecott Exploration Company has been exploring for copper, nickel and platinum group elements in this area since the year 2000.

A summary map of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page:

www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/metallic_nf/regulations.html

 


March 2015

March 12, 2015 - Exploration Proposed on State Minerals Leases

Kennecott Exploration Company submitted an Exploration Plan on March 5, 2015 for exploration activity to be conducted on 12 state mineral leases in Aitkin County, near the city of Tamarack. The company has proposed to complete a ground based gravity (geophysical) survey. The gravity survey is a non-invasive measurement using a sensor of the size of a large coffee pot. It is placed on the ground at regular intervals (100m-200m) for a few minutes to passively measure the earth's gravity field. In addition to the gravity measurement, a high accuracy survey grade GPS (Global Positioning System) location measurement is taken at every gravity station. The explorer has agreements or leases for the surface and mineral ownership on the parcels involved. Kennecott Exploration Company has been exploring for copper, nickel and platinum group elements in this area since the year 2000.

A summary map of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page:

www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/metallic_nf/regulations.html

 


December 2014

December 2, 2014 - Exploration Proposed on State Minerals Leases

Kennecott Exploration Company submitted an Exploration Plan on November 24, 2014 for exploration activities to be conducted on 9 state mineral leases in Aitkin County and Carlton County, near the city of Tamarack. The company proposes to drill approximately 20 to 40 exploratory borings from December 15, 2014 to approximately April 15, 2015. The explorer has also proposed to conduct geophysical surveys in the bore holes and on the ground. The explorer has agreements or leases for the surface and mineral ownership on the parcels involved. Kennecott Exploration Company has been exploring for copper, nickel and platinum group elements in this area since the year 2000.

A summary map of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page:

www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/metallic_nf/regulations.html

 


November 2014

November 5, 2014 - Geochemical Analysis of Four Saprolite Samples, Northeastern Aitkin County, Minnesota

Project LeaderDon Elsenheimer

Mineral Potential Project: #394

The MnDNR is today releasing third-party analytical results from four (4) saprolite samples in Northeastern Aitkin County, Minnesota. These samples were obtained from rotosonic drill cores completed by a mineral exploration company that is investigating a known copper-nickel bedrock deposit that is overlain by a relatively thick layer of glacial sediments and saprolite. Activation Laboratories (ActLabs) provided the third-party laboratory multi-element analyses on representative splits of both the bulk sample and the silt and clay fraction (-63micron).

Logs of these four rotosonic drill cores and related cross-sections were released in September, 2014. The analytical results obtained from samples taken from eleven (11) associated cores reviewed in 2013 have also been previously released.

Today’s data release includes a laboratory analytical report, a rare earth element plot, a laboratory data spreadsheet and a worksheet that combines analytical results from all fifteen cores. These documents, and a more detailed description of the project, are available for download at the DNR’s website:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/mpes_projects/project394.html

 


 

September 2014

September 17, 2014 - Rotosonic Drill Core Descriptions and Interpretation of Glacial Sediment and Saprolite, Northeastern Aitkin County, Minnesota

Project LeaderDon Elsenheimer

Mineral Potential Project: #394

The MnDNR is today releasing drill core logs, cross-sectional depictions, and associated files for fifteen (15) Rotosonic borings in Northeastern Aitkin County, Minnesota.  These borings were completed by a mineral exploration company that is investigating a known copper-nickel bedrock deposit that is overlain by a relatively thick layer of glacial sediments and saprolite.  The goal of this project work is to evaluate whether layers of saprolite and clay-rich glacial sediment affect the efficacy of the soil gas hydrocarbon (SGH) procedure developed by Activation Laboratories, Ltd. (ActLabs) for delineating mineralized bedrock targets by sampling soil material that is inexpensive to collect when compared to drill core samples.

The released logs and cross-sections help characterize the extent of both saprolite and clay-rich glacial sediments within the area, and were used to guide the selection of samples for geochemical analysis.  The analytical results obtained from samples taken from the eleven (11) cores reviewed in 2013 have been previously released.  Samples obtained from the four (4) cores reviewed in August 2014 have been sent to a third-party laboratory for analysis; the results, once obtained, will be provided in a future data release.

Today’s data release includes drill logs, a sample location map, an associated GIS shapefile, and a spreadsheet with sample locations and related field data.  These documents, and a more detailed description of the project, are available for download at the DNR’s website:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/mpes_projects/project394.html

 

 

September 4, 2014 - DNR land sale slated for October

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will offer land for sale at an auction in Virginia, Oct. 9.

The DNR plans to offer 30 parcels, all located in northeastern Minnesota. The parcels range in acreage from .50 acre to 102 acres and offer various opportunities for hunting, recreation and cabin and residential development along prime lakeshore in northern Minnesota.

The auction will be held in conjunction with St. Louis County’s tax forfeited land sale.

Parcels will be offered at oral auction at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. registration) at Miners’ Memorial Building, 821 S. 9th Ave., Virginia.

More information will be posted online at least one month prior to the sale. Additional information about the land sale and terms and conditions can be found online.

http://www.mndnr.gov/landsale

 


August 2014

August 7, 2014 - Exploration Proposed on State Minerals Lease

MMG USA Exploration LLC submitted an Exploration Plan to the DNR on August 1, 2014 for exploration activities to be conducted on one state mineral lease in Aitkin County. The explorer proposes to conduct three types of ground-based geophysical surveys within State Minerals Lease MM-10490. These types of surveys will involve walking on the land with portable equipment. This exploration plan is not requesting approval of drilling activity. The surface land on this lease is owned by private parties. The explorer has proposed a Surface Use and Exploration Agreement to the surface owners. There has been active exploration for metallic minerals not far away within Aitkin County continuously since the year 2000, but never on this state minerals ownership block.

A summary map of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page at:

www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/metallic_nf/regulations.html

 


July 2014

July 22, 2014 - Exploration Proposed on State Minerals Lease

Encampment Minerals Incorporated submitted an Exploration Plan to the DNR on July 16, 2014 for exploration activities to be conducted on one state mineral lease in St. Louis County. The explorer proposes to drill 1 to 4 exploratory borings at each of the two drill sites during the winter of 2014-2015 when the ground is frozen. The Explorer plans to drill at an angle from the surface of the adjacent federal land parcel, and the angle drilling may cross into the state minerals ownership underground. The Explorer does not propose to conduct any surface exploration activities on the state mineral lease, except for the use of the existing winter access trail. The company has been exploring for copper, nickel and platinum group elements on state mineral leases in this township since 2008.

A summary map of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page at:

www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/metallic_nf/regulations.html

 

July 10, 2014 - Exploration Proposed on State Minerals Lease

Kennecott Exploration Company submitted an Exploration Plan on July 3, 2014 for exploration activities to be conducted on 3 state mineral leases in Aitkin County, near the city of Tamarack. The company proposes to drill 10 to 25 exploratory borings between July 28 and December 31, 2014. The company also proposes to do geophysical surveys there. Kennecott Exploration Company has been exploring for copper, nickel and platinum group elements in this area since the year 2000.

A summary map of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page at:

www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/metallic_nf/regulations.html

 


June 2014

June 24, 2014 - DNR to Offer State Lands at Public Auction

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will offer 10 parcels of land at public auction on Friday, August 1, 2014 at 10:30am. Bidder registration will begin at 9:30am.

The auction will be held at the Kittson County Courthouse, Upstairs Conference Room, 410 5th Street South, Hallock, MN 56728.

Interested buyers are encouraged to visit the DNR's land sale information page at www.mndnr.gov/landsale prior to attending the sale. Property data sheets with full descriptions of the parcels offered for sale and selling prices are posted at this site 30 days prior to the sale.

 


June 13, 2014 - DNR Open-File Project 392: Regional Survey of Gold in Till, Cook Area, St. Louis County

Project LeaderDon Elsenheimer

Mineral Potential Project: #392

The DNR is today releasing geochemical analytical results from the silt and clay fraction and magnetic and non-magnetic heavy mineral concentrates from thirty-four (34) glacial sediment samples collected in Northern St. Louis County, at locations where State- or County-controlled surface ownership overlies State-owned or State-administered mineral rights. This is the latest data release for a DNR geological investigation that began in July, 2012, within an approximately 200 square mile area of historical gold and base metal exploration that lies between Cook and Tower.  In this region, an Archean granite-greenstone terrane is overlain by relatively thin layers of Rainy Lobe till and other glacially-derived sediments.  These are ideal geological conditions for using gold grain counts and heavy mineral geochemistry in glacial sediment samples to explore for proximal bedrock mineralization.

The 34 glacial sediment samples were collected in October 2013, and sent to Overburden Drilling Management, Ltd, (ODM) for heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) separation and gold grain counts.  The results of this processing and gold grain analysis were released by the DNR on December 19, 2013 (see this data release for a sample location map). Sample locations were based on initial results from 105 glacial sediment samples that were collected within the project area in October 2012, processed by ODM, and assayed by Activation Laboratories Limited (ActLabs). The DNR released those results to the public on February 4, 2013 and July 2, 2013. 

Today’s data release includes a January, 2014 analytical report from Activation Laboratories, Ltd. (ActLabs) and associated spreadsheet files.  These documents, and a more detailed description of the project, are available at the DNR’s web site.

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/mpes_projects/project392.html

Representative sample splits from these 34 samples have been forwarded to ActLabs for assay and geochemical analysis. The results of this pending analytical work will be released to the public in a future data release.  

Note: While the identification of gold grains in glacial sediment samples may bolster the assessed mineral potential of an area, it is not a determinable test (either positive or negative) for bedrock mineralization. This type of geological investigation should be considered only the first step in determining whether there are bedrock gold deposits in the area. The DNR uses this data for land management purposes.  


April 2014

April 17, 2014 - AITKIN COUNTY SAND AND GRAVEL RESOURCE POTENTIAL MAP AND GIS DATA RELEASED

Sand and gravel resource potential mapping has been completed for Aitkin County. A map and related GIS data are now available for public distribution. The GIS data produced for this project includes: sand and gravel potential, survey of gravel pits, geologic field observations, test hole locations, and sand and gravel sampling results. You can access this information by:

Other Notes - A crushed stone resource potential plate for Aitkin County and an associated GIS dataset will be published at a later date.


February 2014

February 27, 2014 - Notice of Call in Option for March 4, 2014 State Board of Investment and Land Exchange Board Meeting

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that one or more board members may be participating via telephone. The public may monitor the meeting from a remote location. Persons wishing to do so should contact debbie.hunt@state.mn.us.


January 2014

January 31, 2014 - DNR Open-File Project 394: Test of the SGH Soil Survey Method

Project LeaderDon Elsenheimer

Mineral Potential Project: #394

The DNR is testing the effectiveness of a proprietary geochemical exploration technique in an area of known copper-nickel mineralization in Aitkin County, Minnesota. In case studies outside of Minnesota, the soil gas hydrocarbon (SGH) procedure developed by Activation Laboratories, Ltd. (ActLabs) has delineated mineralized bedrock targets buried under thick layers of overburden by extracting and analyzing organic compounds trapped on surficial sediment. The goal of this MnDNR project is to test the method’s efficacy in an area of known bedrock mineralization that is overlain with layers of both saprolite and clay-rich glacial till. The project combines SGH surface soil sampling with detailed characterization of till and saprolite samples obtained from existing rotosonic drill cores.

In October 2013, the DNR collected surface materials from 152 sample locations and sent them to ActLabs for SGH analysis and interpretation. The samples were located within a grid that was proximal to a previously sampled grid (see July 2, 2013 data release). ActLabs performed the analysis, and provided the DNR the results in an interpretive report dated January 27, 2014. The DNR is today releasing the report, a sample location map, and a spreadsheet with sample locations and related field data. These documents, and a more detailed description of the project, are available for download at the DNR’s website:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/mpes_projects/project394.html

The DNR will review these results in conjunction with those obtained in the first phase of the project, and will write a final report for this project.


December 2013

December 19, 2013 - DNR Open-File Project 392: Regional Survey of Gold in Till, Cook Area, St. Louis County

Project LeaderDon Elsenheimer

Mineral Potential Project: #392

The DNR is today releasing preliminary results from the processing and analysis of thirty-four (34) glacial sediment samples collected in Northern St. Louis County, at locations where State- or County-controlled surface ownership overlies State-owned or State-administered mineral rights. This is the latest data release for a DNR geological investigation that began in July, 2012, within an approximately 200 square mile area of historical gold and base metal exploration that lies between Cook and Tower.  In this region, an Archean granite-greenstone terrane is overlain by relatively thin layers of Rainy Lobe till and other glacially-derived sediments.  These are ideal geological conditions for using gold grain counts and heavy mineral geochemistry in glacial sediment samples to explore for proximal bedrock mineralization.

The 34 glacial sediment samples were collected in October 2013, and sent to Overburden Drilling Management, Ltd, (ODM) for heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) separation and gold grain counts.  Sample locations were based on initial results from 105 glacial sediment samples that were collected within the project area in October 2012, processed by ODM, and assayed by Activation Laboratories Limited (ActLabs). The DNR released those results to the public on February 4, 2013 and July 2, 2013. 

Today’s data release includes an ODM report dated December 5, 2013 that documents HMC separation and gold grain count work for the 34 new samples, a sample location  map, and associated spreadsheet files.  These documents, and a more detailed description of the project, are available for download at the DNR’s website:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/mpes_projects/project392.html

Representative sample splits from these 34 samples have been forwarded to ActLabs for assay and geochemical analysis. The results of this pending analytical work will be released to the public in a future data release.  

Note: While the identification of gold grains in glacial sediment samples may bolster the assessed mineral potential of an area, it is not a determinable test (either positive or negative) for bedrock mineralization. This type of geological investigation should be considered only the first step in determining whether there are bedrock gold deposits in the area. The DNR uses this data for land management purposes.