State environmental review of the proposed TMM project
Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM) is proposing to develop an underground mine and associated processing facilities for the extraction of copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum group metals in northeastern Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is charged with preparing an EIS for the proposed Twin Metals Minnesota project (TMM project). This role is known as being the responsible governmental unit (RGU).
Scoping is the first phase of the EIS process. The purpose of scoping is to identify the potentially significant environmental and socioeconomic issues requiring detailed analysis, alternatives to be evaluated, and potential mitigation options. Scoping helps the agency focus the environmental review on the most important issues, but also helps define alternatives and additional data needs. The project proposer is required to pay the DNR costs for conducting all phases of the EIS process, including any costs for the DNR to hire consultants to assist with the scoping and preparation of the EIS.
The TMM project would be located approximately 9 miles southeast of the City of Ely, Minnesota, and approximately 11 miles northeast of the City of Babbitt, Minnesota.
The DNR will prepare a scoping environmental assessment worksheet (Scoping EAW) and draft scoping decision document. The scoping EAW will identify for public consideration the TMM project's potentially significant impacts warranting detailed analysis. The draft scoping decision document will propose alternatives, necessary studies, and additional data needs. These documents will be posted below when they become available.
- Fact sheets
The DNR created the following fact sheets (downloadable PDFs) to help the public understand the environmental review process and other project-related considerations.
- Scoping EAW and draft scoping decision document
The Minnesota DNR does not yet have scoping documents for the Twin Metals EIS. We are still in the process of obtaining necessary information from the project proposer. When available, the scoping EAW and draft scoping decision document will be posted here. The Minnesota DNR will solicit comments on the scoping EAW and draft scoping decision document when these documents are complete. In combination, these two documents will provide a blueprint for EIS preparation.
- Other DNR documents
- May 12, 2021 Temporary Land Access Agreement for TMM
On May 12, 2021, the Minnesota DNR and Twin Metals Minnesota entered into a temporary land access agreement to facilitate the collection of site-specific environmental data on state lands. The collection of these data is important for both the preparation of an EIS for the proposed project as well as to inform the DNR’s review of Twin Metals’ proposed use of state lands for auxiliary mining purposes. No decisions have been made about the proposed future use of state lands and the agreement does not provide any rights beyond the ability to facilitate the collection of site-specific environmental data over the term of the agreement.
- May 12, 2021 Amendment to Temporary Land Access Authorization for TMM
On May 12, 2021, the Minnesota DNR and Twin Metals Minnesota entered into an amendment to an existing temporary access agreement. The first agreement was entered into on August 18, 2020. The amendment adds lands on which to conduct cultural resource surveys. It also extends the temporary land access authorization from two to three years from the effective date of August 18, 2020, allowing survey work to continue into 2023. The remainder of the original agreement remains in effect. The collection of this data is needed for Minnesota DNR to evaluate Twin Metals’ proposed project.
- January 13, 2021 Surface Lease for Observation Wells and Access
On January 13, the Minnesota DNR granted Twin Metals a temporary lease to facilitate the installation of hydrogeological monitoring wells on state lands for the purpose of collecting important groundwater data. The collection of these data is important for both the preparation of an EIS for the proposed project as well as to inform the DNR’s review of Twin Metals’ proposed use of state lands for a tailings disposal facility. No decisions have been made about the proposed future use of state lands and the lease does not provide any rights beyond the ability to install and operate the monitoring wells for the three year term of the lease.
- December 1, 2020 DNR-RGU Comments on TMM Revised Project Proposal Description
- August 31, 2020 Notice of RFP Availability in the Minnesota State Register, Volume 45, Number 9
On August 31, the Minnesota DNR issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire a consultant to assist in our review of the proposed project. Based on the complexity of the proposed project and the level of public interest, it is important for the DNR to retain additional capacity and technical expertise early in the review process. Twin Metals is required to reimburse all the costs associated with the EIS, including contractor assistance. We are accepting consultant proposals through November 3, 2020. The RFP is available on the StateWide Integrated Financial Tools (SWIFT) website under the Bidding Opportunities tab. It is titled: DNR EWR TWIN METALS MINNESOTA PROJECT.
- August 18, 2020 Temporary Land Access Authorization for TMM
On August 18, the Minnesota DNR granted Twin Metals a temporary access agreement to facilitate the collection of site-specific data regarding archaeological resources and architectural history on state lands. Under the agreement, Twin Metals will invite the participation of cultural resource experts from the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Boise Forte Band of Chippewa, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and all federally-recognized Bands signatory to the 1854 Treaty. The collection of these data is needed for Minnesota DNR to evaluate Twin Metals’ proposed project. The access agreement expressly states that no decisions have been made about the future use of state lands.
- June 15, 2020 DNR-RGU Comments on TMM Project Proposal Description
- June 8, 2020 Temporary Land Access Authorization for TMM
On June 8, the Minnesota DNR granted Twin Metals Minnesota a temporary access agreement to facilitate the collection of site-specific environmental data on state lands. The collection of this data is needed for the Minnesota DNR to evaluate Twin Metals’ proposed project. The access agreement expressly states that no decisions have been made about the future use of state lands. The collection of environmental data from these lands is critical to our review as a regulator, as a steward of public lands, and as a fiduciary to the School Trust.
- May 12, 2021 Temporary Land Access Agreement for TMM
- DNR news releases
- go to all DNR news
- Project updates
Other agencies involved
- United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management: BLM webpage
- Project-related information from other agencies is not available at this time. If available in the future, links will be provided here. The DNR anticipates coordinating with other state and federal agencies and tribal governments throughout the environmental review process.