Exploratory Borings

Diamond drill core bit

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

Annual Data and Maps

The Lands and Minerals Division compiles data related to private exploratory borings in Minnesota. Provided here is data and maps pertaining to exploratory borings in Minnesota since 1987.

If you have questions please contact:
Glenn Melchert, Geologist

MN DNR - Division of Lands and Minerals
1525 Third Avenue East,
Hibbing, MN 55746
tel. 218-231-8464
fax 218-262-7328
[email protected]


Jump to a year

  • 2016 map and table Link
  • 2015 map and table Link
  • 2014 map and table Link
  • 2013 map and table Link
  • 2012 map and table Link
  • 2011 map and table Link
  • 2005-2010 map and table Link
  • 1999-2004 map and table Link
  • 1993-1998 map and table Link
  • 1987-1992 map and table Link
  • 1987-2015 chart Link

Did you know?

  • Mineral exploration drill holes make up less than 1% of all drilling in the state.
    View slide »
  • Drill holes are sealed according to state law.
    Visit Department of Health to learn more »
  • It costs an estimated $100,000 to drill 1,000 feet of drill core ($100 per/ft). This is an estimate and includes costs such as; geologist, site selection, geophysics, salaries, and drilling costs. 
  • Only 2.2% of all state leased parcels had exploration drilling completed on them according to an analysis of exploration drilling on state metallic minerals leases over 50 years.
    View analysis »
  • The average size of drill pad is 70'x70' which is approximately 1/10 of an acre in extent. At this size it would take 400 exploratory drill pad sites to fill a 40 acre footprint.

Learn more

Mineral Exploration Process »
Mineral Exploration Regulations »
State Oversight of Metallic Mineral Exploration Activities »


2016

Exploration drilling in 2016

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations completed in 2016

Table: Exploration Drilling in 2016

Exploration Company or AgencyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
Twin Metals Minnesota LLC1Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)Lake
Kennecott Exploration Co.21 borings, 8 wedges, and 1 extensionNi+CuAitkin
Total22 borings, 8 wedges, and 1 extension   

Notes
The Primary Mineral Type is an interpretation for this summary table.
"Wedge" - a new segment of the borehole is drilled from inside an existing borehole by drilling out the sidewall of the existing borehole to obtain core from the geologic feature that is off to the side.
"Extension" - occurs when a borehole is drilled deeper.


2015

Exploration drilling in 2015

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations completed in 2015
  • Associated table with drill hole information; County, Township, Range, Section, Company, Drill Hole Name, Depth (if known), Date Drilled, Online Link to Minnesota Department of Health Form, and Online Link to General Map Location.

The map and table do not show 8 drill holes completed for iron ore in the biwabik iron formation.

Table: Exploration Drilling in 2015

Exploration Company or AgencyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
Encampment Minerals, Inc.9Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)St. Louis and Lake
Kennecott Exploration Co.17Cu+NiAitkin and Carlton
Vermillion Gold LLC7GoldSt. Louis
ArcelorMittal8IronItasca
Total41  

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

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


2014

Exploration drilling in 2014

  • Map of exploration drill hole locations completed in 2014
  • Associated table with drill hole information; County, Township, Range, Section, Company, Drill Hole Name, Depth (if known), Date Drilled, Online Link to Minnesota Department of Health Form, and Online Link to General Map Location.

The map and table do not show 40 drill holes completed for iron ore in the biwabik iron formation and 17 drill holes completed by MnDOT for highway projects.

Table: Exploration Drilling in 2014

Exploration Company or AgencyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
DMC USA LLC5Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)St. Louis and Lake
Kennecott Exploration Co.12Cu+NiAitkin
Twin Metals Minnesota9Cu+Ni+PGMLake
^Hibbing Taconite Co.17IronSt. Louis
^Mag Mining LLC12IronItasca
^US Steel Corp.11IronItasca
MnDOT17Iron - Condemnation drilling; highway 53 relocationSt. Louis
Total83  

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

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


2013

Exploration drilling in 2013

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

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

Table: Exploration Drilling in 2013

Exploration CompanyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
DMC USA LLC24Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)Lake
Encampment Minerals1Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
Kennecott Exploration Co.38Cu+Ni+PGMAitkin
Minerals Processing Corp.4Cu+Ni+PGMAitkin
Teck American Inc.72Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
Twin Metals Minnesota99Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis and Lake
^US Steel10IronSt. Louis
Total248  

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

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


2012

Exploration drilling in 2012

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

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

Table: Exploration Drilling in 2012

Exploration CompanyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
Cooperative Minerals Resources4ManganeseCrow Wing
DMC USA LLC27Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)Lake
Encampment Minerals5Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
HTX Minerals1Cu+Ni+PGMAitkin
Kennecott Exploration Co.29Cu+Ni+PGMAitkin
Twin Metals Minnesota131Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis and Lake
^Hibbing Taconite11IronSt. Louis
^ArcelorMittal1IronSt. Louis
Total209  

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

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


2011

Exploration drilling in 2011

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

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

Table: Exploration Drilling in 2011

Exploration CompanyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
Cardero Resources11Iron and TitaniumSt. Louis
Cooperative Mineral Resources4ManganeseCrow Wing
Duluth Metals8Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)Lake
Encampment Minerals7Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
Kennecott Exploration Co.6Cu+Ni+PGMAitkin and Carlton
MMG USA2Cu+Ni+PGMBrown and Blue Earth
Prime Meridian Resources3Cu+Ni+PGMKoochiching
Twin Metals Minnesota133Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis and Lake
^United States Steel10IronSt. Louis
Western Metals4Cu+Ni+PGMLyon and Renville
Total188  

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

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

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2005-2010

Exploration drilling between 2005-2010

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

Table: Exploration Drilling 2005-2010

Exploration CompanyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
ACME-OCHS Brick and Stone19Kaolin ClayBrown, Redwood, and Renville
Cardero Resources36Iron and TitaniumSt. Louis
Duluth Metals/Twin Metals205Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)Lake
Encampment Minerals37Cu+Ni+PGMLake and St. Louis
Franconia Minerals50Cu+Ni+PGMLake and St. Louis
Kennecott Exploration Co.124Cu+Ni+PGM, Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb)Aitkin, Carlton, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, and Stearns
Lehmann Exploration14GoldItasca and St. Louis
^Mesabi Nugget3IronSt. Louis
Minerals Processing Corp.11Cu+Ni+PGM, Zn, PbAitkin and Carlton
PolyMet Mining Corp.234Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
Teck American Inc.137Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
^United States Steel Corp.49IronItasca and St. Louis
Western Metals LLC5Cu+Ni+PGMLyon
WMC5Cu+Ni+PGMRenville and Yellow Medicine
Total929  

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

^Iron exploration outside of permit to mine

Table: Exploration Drilling 2005-2010 By Year

Exploration Company200520062007200820092010Total
ACME-OCHS Brick and Stone   163 19
Cardero Resources     3636
Duluth Metals/Twin Metals 107272249205
Encampment Minerals   2413 37
Franconia Minerals471612 1150
Kennecott Exploration Co.19 15521721124
Lehmann Exploration    41014
^Mesabi Nugget   3  3
Minerals Processing Corp.      11
PolyMet Mining Corp.107 61  66234
Teck American Inc.  22115  137
^United States Steel Corp.  8287649
Western Metals LLC     55
WMC5     5
Total1351719432246215929

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1999-2004

Exploration drilling between 1999-2004

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

Table: Exploration Drilling 1999-2004

Exploration CompanyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
BHP Minerals International Inc.3IronSt. Louis
Encampment Minerals6Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)Lake
Kennecott Exploration Co.25Cu+Ni+PGM, Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb)Aitkin, Carlton, Morrison, and Stearns
Lehmann Exploration28Cu+Ni+PGMLake and St. Louis
Rendrag Inc.1Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
Wallbridge America LTD3Cu+Ni+PGMLake
WMC1Cu+Ni+PGMRenville
Total67  

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

Table: Exploration Drilling 1999-2004 By Year

Exploration Company199920002001200220032004Total
BHP Minerals International Inc.21    3
Encampment Minerals     66
Kennecott Exploration Co.   3111125
Lehmann Exploration212761 28
Rendrag Inc.1     1
Wallbridge America LTD111   3
WMC5    11
Total61489121867

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1993-1998

Exploration drilling between 1993-1998

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

Table: Exploration Drilling 1993-1998

Exploration CompanyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
American Shield5Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)St. Louis
Cominco16Cu+Ni+PGM, Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb)Aitkin, Carlton, Lake of the Woods, St. Louis, and Wilkin
Exmin Corporation8DiamondBeltrami, Koochiching, Marshall, and Roseau
Great Lakes Exploration1Cu+Ni+PGMCarlton
Lehmann2Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
Phelps Dodge3Cu+Ni+PGMRoseau
Total35  

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

Table: Exploration Drilling 1993-1998 By Year

Exploration Company199319941995199619971998Total
American Shield 4  1 5
Cominco 195 116
Exmin Corporation2 1 5 8
Great Lakes Exploration1     1
Lehmann  1  12
Phelps Dodge3     3
Total651156235

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1987-1992

Exploration drilling between 1987-1992

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

Table: Exploration Drilling 1987-1992

Exploration CompanyNumber of Drill HolesPrimary Mineral Type(s)Counties
American Shield1Copper (Cu) + Nickel (Ni)+ Platinum Group Metals (PGM)St. Louis
Bear Creek1Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
BHP Minerals International Inc.5GoldKoochiching and St. Louis
Coca Mines19GoldSt. Louis
Cominco1Base MetalsNorman
Exmin Corporation30DiamondBeltrami, Benton, Chippewa, Clay, Clearwater, Koochiching, Lac Qui Parle, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Redwood, Renville, St. Louis, Stearns, Stevens, and Wilkin
Exxon2Cu+Ni+PGMRoseau and Beltrami
FMC2GoldSt. Louis
Great Lakes Exploration5Cu+Ni+PGM, Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb)Carlton
Hibbing Taconite Land Co.31IronSt. Louis
INCO12Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
Kennecott Exploration1Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
Kerr-McGee Corp.8GoldKoochiching and St. Louis
Lehmann14Cu+Ni+PGM  and GoldItasca (Gold), Lake, and St. Louis
Meridian L&M Co.18GoldItasca
Newmont Exploration Ltd.134GoldBeltrami, Itasca, Koochiching, Marshall, Norman, Roseau, and St. Louis
Noranda Exploration27GoldBeltrami, Itasca, Norman, and St. Louis
Normin Mining Co.27Cu+Ni+PGMItasca and Koochiching
Phelps Dodge2Cu+Ni+PGMLake of the Woods
Resource Exploration10Cu+Ni+PGMSt. Louis
Rhude and Fryberger Inc.11GoldSt. Louis
Total361  

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

Table: Exploration Drilling 1987-1992 By Year

Exploration Company198719881989199019911992Total
American Shield    1 1
Bear Creek 1    1
BHP Minerals International Inc. 131  5
Coca Mines 19    19
Cominco    1 1
Exmin Corporation474114 30
Exxon11    2
FMC  2   2
Great Lakes Exploration 5    5
Hibbing Taconite Land Co.    31 31
INCO  12   12
Kennecott Exploration   1  1
Kerr-McGee Corp. 62   8
Lehmann5234  14
Meridian L&M Co.126    18
Newmont Exploration Ltd.919209725134
Noranda Exploration351108 27
Normin Mining Co.46161  27
Phelps Dodge     22
Resource Exploration 6 4  10
Rhude and Fryberger Inc.7 4   11
Total458467411177361

1987-2015 Chart

*Exploration drilling per year (1987-2015)

Drilling 1987-2015

Chart displaying number of *exploration drill holes per year (1987-2015).

Click to enlarge

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

 

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