News and Public Notices

Lands and Minerals News Graphic

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 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. This does not cover PolyMet related news releases. If you would like to be notified of PolyMet related news releases please see the sign up below titled 'PolyMet NorthMet Email Updates'.

 

PolyMet NorthMet Email Updates:The DNR has set up a separate Govdelivery notification list for those interested in information about PolyMet's NorthMet project.

See recent PolyMet News Releases from the State's PolyMet website This link leads to an external site.


May 2016

May 12, 2016 - DNR to sell Dakota County land

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will conduct an oral bid auction scheduled for June 8.Two forty acre parcels are being offered for sale in Dakota County near Hastings. The properties are off Highway 316 South, just east of the city limits of Hastings.

The parcels have development potential and are mostly open with level terrain. There are scattered trees on the west and east boundaries. Residential development is along the west and southern boundaries, and industrial along the north boundary.

Bidders are advised to read the property data sheet and be familiar with the property, minimum bid price, and terms and conditions of sale prior to attending the auction.

To obtain a property data sheet or terms and conditions of sale call 651-259-5432, 888-646-6367 or email landsale@dnr.state.mn.us. The property data sheets are also available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/landsale/.

 


May 5, 2016 - Exploration proposed on state nonferrous metallic minerals leases

Kennecott Exploration Company (explorer) submitted an Exploration Plan on May 2, 2016 for exploration activity to be conducted on 7 state nonferrous metallic mineral leases in Aitkin and Carlton Counties near the city of Tamarack. The company proposes to conduct two ground-based geophysical surveys over its Tamarack Project. One is a gravity survey. This is a non-invasive measurement that uses a sensor the size of a large coffee pot. It is placed on the ground at 100 to 200 meter intervals for a few minutes to passively measure the earth's gravity field. The other is a magneto-telluric (MT) survey. The MT survey is also a non-invasive technique to measure changes in the earth?s electrical and magnetic fields over time. Small recording units will be placed at stations approximately 400 meters apart (roughly one every 40 acres). No trees or brush will be removed for these surveys. The company will capture the locations of every geophysical station with a high accuracy GPS (Global Positioning System). 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 report and associated map of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page:

Exploration Plan Webpage

 


April 2016

April 19, 2016 - Exploration proposed on state nonferrous metallic minerals leases

A business that is exploring for metallic mineral deposits on state mineral leases, Kennecott Exploration Company, submitted an Exploration Plan on April 12, 2016. The exploration activities are proposed on seven state nonferrous metallic mineral leases in Aitkin County near the city of Tamarack. The company proposes to drill approximately 10 to 20 exploratory borings between May 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. The explorer has also proposed to run down-the-hole geophysical surveys in each exploratory boring that is drilled. The explorer will use existing trails to access most of the exploratory boring sites. The explorer plans to make two new trails to access some exploratory boring sites. The explorer has agreements or leases for the surface and mineral ownership on the lands affected. Kennecott Exploration Company has been exploring for copper, nickel and platinum group elements in this area since the year 2000.

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

Exploration Plan Webpage

 


April 14, 2016 - State Launches PolyMet Permitting Portal

The State has launched a web portal dedicated to Minnesota’s permitting process for PolyMet’s proposed NorthMet mining project at www.mn.gov/polymet. This project is very complex and it would need permits from several state agencies in order to proceed. The web portal provides basic permitting information and directs users to agency websites with more detail.

If you would like to receive updates on the permitting processes you must take action: Go to www.mn.gov/polymet and sign up with your email address.

If you have been receiving updates on the PolyMet environmental review process please note you will no longer receive updates from that list. You must sign up again at www.mn.gov/polymet in order to receive future information on PolyMet permitting.

As a reminder, the DNR will host a permitting processes public informational meeting on April 19, 2016 at Mesabi East High School in Aurora, MN.

 


April 7, 2016 - Exploration proposed on state nonferrous metallic minerals leases

Kennecott Exploration Company (explorer) submitted an Exploration Plan on March 31, 2016 for exploration activity to be conducted on 40 state nonferrous metallic mineral leases in Aitkin and Carlton Counties near the city of Tamarack. The company proposes to conduct two ground-based geophysical surveys over its Tamarack Project. One is a gravity survey. This is a non-invasive measurement that uses a sensor the size of a large coffee pot. It is placed on the ground at 100 to 200 meter intervals for a few minutes to passively measure the earth's gravity field. The other is a magneto-telluric (MT) survey. The MT survey is also a non-invasive technique to measure changes in the earth's electrical and magnetic fields over time. Small recording units will be placed at stations approximately 400 meters apart (roughly one every 40 acres). No trees or brush will be removed for these surveys. The company will capture the locations of every geophysical station with a high accuracy GPS (Global Positioning System). The explorer has agreements or leases for the surface 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 report and associated maps of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page:

Exploration Plan Webpage

 


March 2016

March 28, 2016 - DNR selects financial assurance contractor to assist in review of potential PolyMet permit application

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has awarded a contract to Emmons Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR) to assist in DNR's evaluation of financial assurance information in connection with the anticipated permit to mine application from PolyMet Mining, Inc. for its proposed NorthMet project.

The selection of EOR followed a rigorous process that began with DNR assembling a Review Panel. The Review Panel included senior leaders from the DNR, MPCA, MN State Board of Investment, and Governor’s office; DNR’s outside counsel for the project; and public and private sector expertise in nonferrous mining and financial analysis. The Review Panel assessed all of the proposals, conducted interviews of proposers, and ultimately recommended selection of EOR to the DNR Commissioner.

EOR is a nationally recognized group of environmental and design professionals located in Oakdale, Minnesota. EOR will use a project team, including Spectrum Engineering and JLT Specialty USA, to supply all of DNR’s requested financial assurance services. EOR's expertise includes water-resources engineering, watershed modeling and planning, environmental compliance, biological surveying, restoration, and environmental regulation and permitting. Spectrum Engineering is an internationally recognized mining engineering, reclamation, and permitting consulting firm located in Billings, Montana. Spectrum has inventoried and supervised the reclamation of thousands of mines/abandoned mines, including large open pit metal mines. JLT is one of the world's leading experts on insurance, reinsurance, and surety bonds related to the mining industry. JLT ensures that its clients understand the likelihood and potential severity of financial risks, the available mitigation options, and the potential short and long term costs of those options.

PolyMet’s financial assurance information will be submitted as part of its anticipated permit to mine application. Initial work to be conducted by DNR and the EOR Project Team includes establishing financial and technical criteria for evaluating PolyMet’s permit submittals. If an application is received, there will be opportunities to both obtain information about financial assurance and comment on the draft permit prior to a decision.

For media inquiries about this topic please contact:
Chris Niskanen, DNR communications director, 651-259-5023, chris.niskanen@state.mn.us

For all other inquiries, please contact:
Joe Henderson, DNR- Lands and Minerals, Mine Permitting & Coordination Manager, 651-259-5428, joseph.henderson@state.mn.us


March 17, 2016 - DNR to host public information meeting in advance of PolyMet permit application

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is hosting a public information meeting on Tuesday, April 19, about PolyMet Mining, Inc.’s potential permit to mine application for its proposed NorthMet project. The meeting will be at Mesabi East High School, 601 North 1st St. W., Aurora, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Read Full Story

 


March 10, 2016 - Northshore Mining Expansion - Permit to Mine Issuance

On March 10, 2016 DNR issued an amended permit to mine which authorizes a 108 acre expansion of the Northshore Mining Company’s Peter Mitchell taconite mine near Babbitt, Minnesota.

The size of the expansion did not trigger a mandatory environmental assessment worksheet (EAW), however in response to public comment, the Company volunteered to prepare an EAW. On April 22, 2015, DNR completed the EAW and issued a Record of Decision that an Environmental Impact Statement was not warranted for the project. This decision was appealed to the State Court of Appeals and the Court dismissed the case in August 2015.

Based on public comments on the permit to mine and the EAW, DNR included a number of special conditions in the amended permit to further address items such as financial assurance, water quality sampling, and future changes to the waste rock stockpile cover system.

For questions about this permit please contact:

Jennifer Engstrom, Manager
Mineland Reclamation Section
DNR Division of Lands and Minerals
(651) 259-5385

 


 

March 7, 2016 - Historic Scanned Exploration Documents Released

A generous gift from the Lehmann Family Fund will make historical mineral exploration data available and accessible to the public and to the industry. The donation honors the lifelong work of Ernie Lehmann, an internationally-renowned mineral explorer who was a pioneer in evaluating the mineral resource potential of Minnesota’s greenstone belts and Duluth Complex.

The Polaris Joint Venture (PJV) was a large-scale five year-long exploration campaign that targeted high-grade Copper-Zinc prospects in the greenstone belts of Northern Minnesota during the early 1980's. Ernest K. Lehmann & Associates (ELA), in partnership with Getty and Billiton, completed airborne and ground geophysical surveys, geologic mapping, geochemical sampling, and 50 drill holes within a 13,000 square mile study area that stretched roughly from Bemidji to Ely. This new data will accompany the drill core samples already deposited at the DNR’s drill core library located in Hibbing, Minnesota.

Largely funded by private industry, historical mineral exploration records are the primary source of information about the buried, undiscovered, and undeveloped mineral deposits in the state. The records represent a significant investment of time, capital and human effort to discover and map the state’s minerals.

In addition to mineral exploration, the geoscience information contained in the records can be used by state agency geologists to inform state land administration and groundwater planning decisions, and by university researchers to further discover the geologic history of the state.

The Lands and Minerals Division's goal for this collection is to protect and preserve the original documents while making them readily available to the public via the internet. There are currently 16,000 individual pages from this collection from approximately 1,600 documents such as reports and maps that have been scanned and are available online. The Lehmann Family Fund donated $10,000 to preserve and catalog the documents.

Users may search through the online documents by choosing from three tools. There is a web map that allows you to select a geographic location and find the associated documents; or use an excel spreadsheet to search through the documents; or use Geographic Information System to search the records.

Visit the DNR's Polaris Joint Venture webpage to learn more:

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

 


March 3, 2016 - Approval of Leases

On March 2, 2016, the Minnesota State Executive Council approved issuance of 43 leases to three companies that submitted bids at the state's November 16, 2015 nonferrous metallic minerals lease sale. The Executive Council approved issuance of:

  • Thirty-three leases covering 11,628.69 acres in Koochiching County to AngloGold Ashanti Minnesota Inc.;
  • Seven leases covering 3,280 acres in St. Louis County to Encampment Minerals, Inc.; and
  • Three leases covering 1,440 acres in Aitkin County to Kennecott Exploration Company.

Four other valid bids submitted at the lease sale were withdrawn by the bidder before the March 2, 2016 Executive Council meeting.

Further information about the approved leases is shown on the interactive web map on the DNR's website:

Metallic Minerals Lease Sale Web Map

Metallic Minerals Lease Sale Webpage

 


February 2016

February 11, 2016 - Amended exploration plan on state nonferrous metallic minerals leases

This notice amends the notice sent February 1, 2016. Kennecott Exploration Company amended their exploration plan described below on February 10, 2016. The amendment extends the time period they expect to do the work to July 30th, 2016. This is the only change from the original plan.

Kennecott Exploration Company (explorer) submitted an Exploration Plan on January 25, 2016 for exploration activity to be conducted on 27 state nonferrous metallic mineral leases in Aitkin and Carlton Counties near the city of Tamarack. The company proposes to conduct two ground-based geophysical surveys over its Tamarack Project. One is a gravity survey. This is a non-invasive measurement that uses a sensor the size of a large coffee pot. It is placed on the ground at 100 to 200 meter intervals for a few minutes to passively measure the earth's gravity field. The other is a magneto-telluric (MT) survey. The MT survey is also a non-invasive technique to measure changes in the earth's electrical and magnetic fields over time. Small recording units will be placed at stations approximately 400 meters apart (roughly one every 40 acres). No trees or brush will be removed for these surveys. The company will capture the locations of every geophysical station with a high accuracy GPS (Global Positioning System). 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 report and associated maps of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page:

Exploration Plan Webpage

 


February 2, 2016 - DNR Open-File Project 392: Regional Survey of Gold in Till, Cook Area, St. Louis County

Summary and Data: The DNR is releasing Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) data and magnified, high-resolution backscatter electron images of gold grains from glacial sediment samples collected in an area southeast of Soudan in Northern St. Louis County, at locations where State- or County-controlled surface ownership overlies State-owned or State-administered mineral rights. SEM imaging of these gold grains was performed by Overburden Drilling Management, Ltd (ODM), a third-party contractor. The SEM observations confirm the accuracy of previously reported shape classifications of “pristine” and “modified” gold grains, made using a lower-resolution binocular microscope. The high numbers of pristine and modified gold grains led ODM to conclude in their January 26, 2016 letter report that “...a bedrock source (or sources) must be present within or near the surveyed area.” That said, neither these results nor previous results obtained using the gold-in-till mineral exploration method can determine the precise location of a bedrock gold source (or sources). The data also cannot be used to determine the economic value of that bedrock gold; a comprehensive mineral exploration program would be required to do that.

This data release also includes geochemical data from the analysis of the 19 glacial sediment samples that were collected by the DNR in October, 2015, and previously analyzed for gold grain counts by ODM. Activation Laboratories Ltd (ActLabs) analyzed representative splits of the silt+clay fraction and magnetic HMC from the 19 samples, and reported the results to the DNR in a laboratory report dated January 28, 2016. The distribution of metals and associated pathfinder elements within these samples will be compared against the geochemical results from 172 previously-collected Cook Area sediment samples, and evaluated within an open-file report that is currently under preparation.

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 glacial till and other glacially-derived sediments. These are ideal geological conditions for using gold grain counts and heavy mineral geochemistry to search for gold within bedrock that is covered by glacial deposits.

Today’s data release includes the ODM letter report, digital images of individual gold grains, the Actlabs laboratory report, 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

For questions about this data release, please contact:

Don Elsenheimer
DNR Division of Lands and Minerals
(651) 259-5433
donald.elsenheimer@state.mn.us

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.

 


February 1, 2016 - Exploration proposed on state nonferrous metallic minerals leases

Kennecott Exploration Company (explorer) submitted an Exploration Plan on January 25, 2016 for exploration activity to be conducted on 27 state nonferrous metallic mineral leases in Aitkin and Carlton Counties near the city of Tamarack. The company proposes to conduct two ground-based geophysical surveys over its Tamarack Project. One is a gravity survey. This is a non-invasive measurement that uses a sensor the size of a large coffee pot. It is placed on the ground at 100 to 200 meter intervals for a few minutes to passively measure the earth's gravity field. The other is a magneto-telluric (MT) survey. The MT survey is also a non-invasive technique to measure changes in the earth's electrical and magnetic fields over time. Small recording units will be placed at stations approximately 400 meters apart (roughly one every 40 acres). No trees or brush will be removed for these surveys. The company will capture the locations of every geophysical station with a high accuracy GPS (Global Positioning System). 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 report and associated maps of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page:

Exploration Plan Webpage

 


January 2016

January 8, 2016 - DNR Open-File Project 392: Regional Survey of Gold in Till, Cook Area, St. Louis County

Summary and Data: The DNR is releasing new gold grain counts from nineteen (19) glacial sediment samples collected in an area 5 miles southeast of Soudan in Northern St. Louis County, at locations where State- or County-controlled surface ownership overlies State-administered mineral rights. The goal is to find gold in the bedrock. This indirect exploration method is used in areas where bedrock is covered by glacial sediments, and can narrow down the search for gold in the bedrock. This new data set strongly points towards the presence of gold within the focus area’s underlying bedrock. The new samples confirm previously reported results of three samples that had high gold grain counts, and create a new cluster of 18 samples that have high gold content. These samples were collected in areas of primarily University Trust mineral ownership. 

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 glacial till and other glacially-derived sediments. These are ideal geological conditions for using gold grain counts and heavy mineral geochemistry to search for gold within bedrock that is covered by glacial deposits.

The 19 glacial sediment samples were collected in Fall 2015 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 reported to the DNR in a laboratory report dated December 18, 2015. More than 97% 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 19 samples have been sent to Activation Laboratories Ltd for analysis. Representative gold grain samples will also be characterized and photographed by ODM using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). The DNR anticipates that these results will be available for public release by early February, 2016.

Today’s data release includes the December 18, 2015 laboratory report, 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

For questions about this data release, please contact:

Don Elsenheimer
DNR Division of Lands and Minerals
(651) 259-5433
donald.elsenheimer@state.mn.us

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.

 


December 2015

December 7, 2015 - Exploration proposed on a state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

A business that is exploring for metallic minerals deposits on state mineral leases, Twin Metals Minnesota, submitted an Exploration Plan to the DNR on December 1, 2015. The exploration activities are proposed on a state nonferrous metallic minerals lease in Lake County east of Babbitt and south of Ely, Minnesota. The company proposes doing down-the-hole geophysical and hydrogeological tests at one pre-existing temporarily sealed drill hole (exploratory boring). The company will open the previously used access routes and drill pad to allow trucks and equipment access to the site. No new trails are proposed. The tests inside the boring could take a number of days. The work may begin shortly after all approvals are received.

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

Exploration Plan Webpage

 


November 2015

November 24, 2015 - Exploration proposed on state nonferrous metallic minerals leases

A business that is exploring for metallic mineral deposits on state mineral leases, Kennecott Exploration Company, submitted an Exploration Plan on November 19, 2015. The exploration activities are proposed on four state nonferrous metallic mineral leases in Aitkin County near the city of Tamarack. The company proposes to drill approximately 10 to 20 exploratory borings from December 16, 2015 to approximately April 30, 2016. The explorer has also proposed to conduct down-the-hole geophysical surveys in the exploratory borings. The explorer will use existing trails to access the majority of exploratory boring sites. The explorer will need to extend an existing trail approximately 300 feet to access one of the exploratory boring sites. 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 report and associated maps of the proposed exploration activities is found at the DNR's exploration plan web page:

Exploration Plan Webpage

 


November 18, 2015 - Exploration proposed on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

A business that is exploring for metallic mineral deposits on state mineral leases, Vermillion Gold, submitted an Exploration Plan to the DNR on November 17, 2015. Exploration activities are proposed on one state nonferrous metallic mineral lease in St. Louis County, near the city of Virginia. The company proposes to drill 1 exploratory boring on the state mineral lease in Section 22 of Township 58 North, Range 17 West. The explorer will need to extend an existing private access trail approximately 75 feet further in length to access the proposed exploratory boring site. There are private commercial property owners in Section 22. The explorer is working on an access agreement with the commercial property surface owners in Section 22 and will not do exploration work until agreements are in effect. 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

 


November 16, 2015 - Nonferrous Metallic Minerals Lease Sale Bid Results

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources held its 34th non-ferrous metallic minerals lease sale on November 16, 2015. Four companies submitted bids on 47 mining units in Aitkin, Itasca, Koochiching and St. Louis Counties. Of the 88,572 acres offered for lease, 17,737 (20%) received bids. A list of the companies, the mining units bid upon and the amount of each bid is posted in the DNR’s website:

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

Following its review of the bids and bidder qualifications, the DNR will prepare a report and recommendation to the State’s Executive Council about the leases. The State’s Executive Council, comprised of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor, will decide whether to approve the leases. The Executive Council is currently expected to consider the leases at its meeting on March 2, 2016, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 106 of the Minnesota State Board of Investment, Retirement Systems Building, 60 Empire Drive, St. Paul, MN 55103.

The DNR is accepting written comments from the public specific to the bidders and properties bid upon until 4:30 p.m. on December 16, 2015. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to MMLeaseSale.dnr@state.mn.us or may be mailed to:

MM Lease Sale
DNR Division of Lands and Minerals
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4045

Any comments received from members of the public are classified as public data.


November 12, 2015 - 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 releasing analytical results from the re-assay of 138 glacial sediment samples collected in the Cook Area of Northern St. Louis County. These results replace a small sub-set of Activation Laboratories (ActLabs) data that was published within a June 30, 2015 data release, involving fire assay-ICP/MS analyses of gold (Au), platinum (Pt) and palladium (Pd) that fell outside of expected distribution ranges for silt+clay fraction sediment samples.

In Spring 2015, the DNR requested that ActLabs analyze representative silt+clay fractions from 138 Cook Area sediment samples using two separate data packages: 1) whole rock analysis of major element concentrations and ICP/MS trace element analysis (ActLabs Code 4LITHO), and 2) fire assay-ICP/MS analysis of Au, Pt and Pd concentrations (ActLabs Code 1C-Exp). The results were provided to the DNR in ActLabs report A15-04151, dated June 29, 2015, and included within the June 30, 2015 data release.

The DNR reviewed the data and asked ActLabs to reanalyze a subset of thirty (30) silt+clay fraction samples using the fire assay-ICP/MS method. The results of this partial re-assay were provided to DNR in an ActLabs report dated September 16, 2015. ActLabs then re-assayed the remaining 108 silt+clay fraction samples using the fire assay-ICP/MS method and provided the results within a report dated October 23, 2015. The ranges of Pt, Pd, and Au concentrations obtained by these re-assays are more comparable to both previous Cook Area results and to results obtained from similar geologic terranes. The DNR considers these replicate analyses to be far more representative than the initial results provided in the June 30 data release, and will only use these replicate analyses within the open file report that is currently under preparation.

The DNR request for reanalysis was limited in scope, and did not involve associated whole rock and trace element analyses of the silt+clay fraction samples. A more detailed analysis of these data sets and a fuller explanation of the methods used to process and geochemically analyze the glacial sediment samples will be provided within an open file report that is currently under preparation.

Today’s data release includes the two laboratory reports and two associated data tables in spreadsheet formats. These documents, as well as previous project data releases and a more detailed description of the project, are available at the DNR’s web site.

Survey of Gold in Till, Cook Area

Note: This replacement of silt+clay fraction assay results does not impact other data that was included within the June 30, 2015 release. Specifically, the gold grain counts that were reported in that data release were obtained by a different vendor. No issues were identified with this stand-alone gold grain data set.


November 5, 2015 - Exploration proposed on state nonferrous metallic minerals leases

A business that is exploring for metallic mineral deposits on state mineral leases, Twin Metals Minnesota, submitted an Exploration Plan to the DNR on October 30, 2015. The exploration activities are proposed on four state nonferrous metallic mineral leases in St. Louis and Lake Counties east of Babbitt and south of Ely, Minnesota. The company proposes doing down-the-hole geophysical and hydrogeological tests at 12 existing temporarily sealed drill holes (exploratory borings). The company will open the previously used access routes and drill pads to allow trucks and a drill rig access to the sites. No new trails are proposed. The tests inside the borings could take a number of days. All 12 borings will be permanently sealed after the tests are done. The work may begin shortly after all approvals are received. Some sites will be accessed only in winter when soils are frozen. Twin Metals is seeking separate approval from the Health Department for the hydrogeological tests.

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

Exploration Plan Webpage

 


November 2, 2015 - DNR Open-File Project 289-3: Whole Rock Analysis from Selected Dimension Stone Inventory Sites Located on School Trust Lands in Lake and Cook Counties

Project Leader: Matt Oberhelman
Lands and Minerals Division
Hibbing Office
tel. 218-231-8465
matt.oberhelman@state.mn.us

Project Number: 298-3

The MNDNR is today releasing third-party geochemical analytical results of eight samples collected by the DNR from four dimension stone inventory sites located on School Trust lands in Lake and Cook Counties.

The purpose of the dimension stone inventory is to identify areas of crystalline bedrock in northern Minnesota that exhibit potential for dimension stone quarry development. Dimension stone quarries from northern Minnesota have supplied major architectural, landscape and memorial projects throughout the U.S. Some of notable projects include stonework at the World Trade Center in New York, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford VA, and the Victory Memorial Drive in Minneapolis, MN.

The geochemical analysis is for the following whole-rock major element oxides: SiO2, Al2O3, Fe2O3,MnO, MgO, CaO, Na2O, K2O, TiO2, P2O5, LOI; trace elements: Ba, Sr, Y, Sc, Zr, Be, V, and Total Carbon and Total Sulfur.

The data release includes a September, 2015 analytical report from Activation Laboratories, Ltd. (ActLabs) and associated spreadsheet file, and a sample location map.

Digital data files are available for download at the DNR's Dimension Stone Inventory Project Webpage.

 


October 2015

October 19, 2015 - Sealed Bid Auction for one parcel in Lake Bronson State Park

The Department of Natural Resources will hold a sealed bid auction for a property within the Lake Bronson State Park, in Kittson County.

The sale property is a buildable lot in a residential area within the park, near Lake Bronson. A property data sheet for the property, with information about the property, photos and directions, is on the website, along with a map of the area, instructions for submitting a sealed bid, and the sealed bid form. Bids must be accompanied by a downpayment of 10 percent of the bid.

Sealed bids will be accepted until October 30 at 12 p.m. (noon). A bid opening, which is open to the public, will be held at 3 p.m. October 30 in the DNR’s Central Office Lobby Gallery, at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, 55155. Bidders do not need to be present at the bid opening.

Please call the Land Sale line for specific questions, at 651/259-5432 or toll free at 1-888-MINNDNR (1-888-646-6367) or by email: MIN.Landsale@state.mn.us.

Visit the DNR Land Sale webpage for information:

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

 

October 7, 2015 - DNR to hold metallic minerals lease offering

The Department of Natural Resources is initiating the sale of leases for state-owned metallic minerals. Areas offered for lease are in Aitkin, Carlton, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching and St. Louis counties and total 88,572 acres.

The notice of sale, mining unit book containing the sale areas, interactive web maps and other information are available on the DNR’s website, www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/leasesale/index.html.

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.

The DNR published a list of potential lease areas on June 22. Based on public input, company interest and other factors, the agency removed 13,474 acres in St. Louis and Cass counties from the lease sale.

Under Minnesota law, the DNR is charged with managing state-owned minerals for exploration and development. Revenue from the metallic mineral leases benefits public schools, local taxing districts, and the state’s general fund. This is the 34th sale of leases for state-owned metallic metals.

Companies interested in submitting bids may obtain bid forms and instructions by contacting the DNR’s Lands and Minerals Division, 651-259-5959. Sealed bids must be submitted before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13. A public bid opening will take place Nov. 16 at 9 a.m. in the lobby of the DNR’s Central Office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

The DNR will then review all bids and notify potentially affected landowners. Notifications will go to the surface rights owners of parcels that attract bids. The DNR will help these landowners understand what leasing might mean for them and their rights as surface owners.

Based on the bids received and evaluation of the bidders’ qualifications, the DNR will prepare a recommendation for the state’s Executive Council for consideration at its March 2016 meeting. The council -- comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state auditor -- will make final decisions about whether to approve the 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. These same standards apply to nonstate minerals.

Most state metallic minerals leases end within five years. Historically, only about two percent of areas under state metallic minerals leases have had one or more exploratory borings. Prior to any exploratory activity, leaseholders must submit a minerals exploration plan to the DNR, which then imposes any restrictions deemed necessary to limit impacts to resources and property owners.

The sale notice will be published in the EQB Monitor and State Register Oct. 12. For the next several weeks, newspapers in the counties where the leases are being offered will also be publishing the notice.

DNR Notice of Lease Sale (.pdf)


September 2015

September 4, 2015 - Public Input Online

The public input received on the areas under consideration for the next state Metallic Minerals Lease Sale is now available for viewing. The DNR received 470 letters via email and U.S. mail. DNR staff compiled the public input into PDF documents, but no other changes were made in the documents as submitted. The documents are posted online for public review in a compressed zip file. You can access these documents by going to the DNR's Metallic Mineral Lease Sale Public Input webpage:
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/leasesale/input.html

The documents are available in alternative formats. The documents are also available for viewing in the DNR Central Office in St. Paul. Please contact us at: MMLeaseSale.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-259-5959 if you would like to view the documents or would like them in an alternative format.


 

August 2015

August 20, 2015 - Time Extended for Public Input

Due to a disruption in the State of Minnesota’s e-mail service on August 19, 2015, the Minnesota DNR is extending the time for public input on lands being considered for nonferrous metallic mineral leases. Public input will now be accepted through Monday August 24, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. The mailing address and e-mail address for public input are located at the following link:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/leasesale/input.html


 

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.

 


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.