State Nonferrous Metallic Mineral Leasing
Purposes and Policies

The state Minnesota Rules, Chapter 6132 states that the purpose and policy concerning nonferrous metallic minerals is:


  • control possible adverse environmental effects of nonferrous metallic mineral mining,
  • to preserve natural resources,
  • and to encourage planning of future land utilization,
  • while at the same time promoting orderly development of nonferrous metallic mineral mining,
  • encouragement of good mining practices,
  • and recognition and identification of the beneficial aspects of nonferrous metallic mineral mining


  • mining be conducted in a manner that will reduce impacts to the extent practicable,
  • mitigate unavoidable impacts,
  • ensure that the mining area is left in a condition that protects natural resources and minimizes to the extent practicable the need for maintenance.

Minnesota Rules, Chapter 6132 »

Leasing School Trust Lands

The legislature intends that it is the goal of the permanent school fund (Minnesota Statutes, section 127A.31) to secure the maximum long-term economic return from the school trust lands consistent with the fiduciary responsibilities imposed by the trust relationship established in the Minnesota Constitution, with sound natural resource conservation and management principles, and with other specific policy provided in state law.

Leasing nonferrous metallic mineral interests on School Trust Lands is one process used to generate revenue for the Permanent School Fund. As of May of 2012, active nonferrous metallic mineral leases on School Trust Lands makes up 30% of all active nonferrous metallic mineral leases. A number of these leases are located on known metallic mineral deposits; Maturi deposit, Birch Lake deposit, and Mesaba deposit. The potential future revenue for the Permanent School Fund from these three deposits is in the range of $2-3 billion. These are just estimates since metal prices tend to vary over time.

The commissioner of natural resources has the authority and responsibility (Minnesota Statutes, section 84.027, subd. 18) for the administration of school trust lands.  Currently, the DNR administers approximately 2.5 million acres of school trust surface and mineral interests and an additional 1 million of acres of severed school trust mineral interests.
Minnesota Statutes, section 127A.31 »
Minnesota Statutes, section 84.027, subd. 18 »
Story Map on Minnesota's School Trust Lands »

Leasing State Lands

The Minnesota Legislature enacted Minnesota Statutes, section 93.001 setting forth state policy to:
“provide for the diversification of the state's mineral economy through long-term support of mineral exploration, evaluation, environmental research, development, production, and commercialization.”
Minnesota Statutes, section 93.001 »

The state of Minnesota issues leases for nonferrous metallic mineral mining units pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 93.25; Minnesota Rules, parts 6125.0100-.0700. DNR creates mining units to establish the state-owned lands and minerals that are available for lease in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 93.15. As a result of metallic mineral leasing, a portion of the state’s mineral economy is derived from nonferrous metallic mineral exploration and development. If a lessee does discover a mineral deposit, environmental review and mining permits are mandatory before mining can begin.
Minnesota Statutes, section 93.25 »
Minnesota Rules, parts 6125.0100-0.0700 »
Minnesota Statutes, section 93.15 »

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