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 visit the PolyMet website.


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September 2022

Sept. 20, 2022 - Minnesota DNR announces auction dates and parcels for 2022 land sales

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has state lands for sale in in Anoka, Houston, Itasca, St. Louis, and Wadena counties. The 17 parcels for sale include rural lands, with many recreational opportunities.

Annual land sales help the DNR optimize its land holdings and meet its responsibility to maximize recreational, conservation, and economic opportunities for the state. The DNR sells land at public auction in accordance with state statutes. This year, the DNR will offer two public oral bid auctions in October, followed by an online auction later this fall.

DNR public oral bid auction schedule

In-person auctions are scheduled at the following locations. Registration starts a half hour prior to the auction.

  1. Parcels for sale in Wadena County will be offered at an in-person auction on Friday, Oct. 14 at 11 a.m. at the Wadena County Courthouse, 415 Jefferson Street South, Wadena, Minnesota 56482.
  2. Parcels for sale in Anoka and Houston counties will be offered at an in-person auction on Friday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. at MnDOT SE District Headquarters, 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, Minnesota 55901.

Additional land sale opportunities

Later this fall, properties in Wadena, Itasca, and St. Louis counties will become available for bidding online at MinnBid.org. Following the October sales, DNR will provide more details about the next fall sale on its website.

All are welcome to participate in the public auctions. Visit the DNR land sale webpage for more information about the lands for sale and learn how to register to bid on properties.

 

Sept. 20, 2022 - Aggregate Resource Potential Maps for Swift, Sibley, and Redwood counties, published by DNR's Aggregate Resource Mapping Program

Geologists in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Aggregate Resource Mapping Program (ARMP) completed three new natural resource maps showing the potential for sand and gravel deposits and crushed stone resources in Swift, Sibley, and Redwood counties. Aggregate resource maps are an important tool for accessing resources needed to construct the roads, bridges, and buildings that we use every day.

Each project's datasets, including maps to locate aggregate resources and countywide gravel pit surveys, will be publicly available on the Aggregate Resources Mapping Program webpage.

The online publishing dates for the datasets are as follows:

  • Swift County will be posted on Sept. 20
  • Sibley County will be posted on Sept. 27
  • Redwood County will be posted on Oct. 4

The public, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and industry can download the digital map plates (PDF format) and related geospatial data. Paper copy maps are available upon request.

The sand and gravel maps are the most recent products from the ARMP providing field-researched information to locate sand, gravel, and crushed stone resources and characterize the quality of a deposit. DNR geologists in the ARMP are working towards creating detailed aggregate maps for every county statewide.

The Minnesota Legislature established ARMP in 1984. Today, twenty-one Minnesota counties have access to completed aggregate resource maps. A three-year grant from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, provided funding for aggregate resource mapping in Kandiyohi, Redwood, Swift, and Sibley counties.

For more information, visit the Aggregate Mapping Methodology webpage. Contact DNR geologist, Chad Crotty, to request maps and to inquire about aggregate resource maps for your county.


March 2022

March 15, 2022 - Plan submitted to explore on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

Talon Nickel (USA) LLC (Talon) submitted a proposed plan to continue exploring for metallic mineral deposits in Aitkin County. Exploration will occur on leased state mineral rights in an area north of Tamarack, Minnesota. Kennecott Exploration Company (Kennecott) and Talon have explored in this area since the early 2000s.

Talon's exploration plan proposes drilling exploratory borings using the diamond core method at up to 25 drill sites. Talon notes the possibility of multiple borings at each site. Talon plans to use existing access to drill sites. The company may need to construct new trails to reach some areas. Drilling activity, including sealing, will follow regulations set by the Department of Health.

Talon's proposed plan includes downhole geophysical surveys in newly drilled borings and borings that are temporarily sealed. Talon's proposal includes plans to use a drill rig to clear any blocked borings. The new exploration plan indicates that surveyors may conduct geophysical surveys on foot within the boundaries of the leased state mineral rights. When conducting ground-based geophysical surveys, surveyors may need to cut small amounts of brush to make room for the portable survey equipment, but surveyors will not cut lines or grids. Talon will place signs when conducting geophysical surveys.

Kennecott, which designated Talon as the operator for the proposed exploration activity, holds the state leases. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has approved the operating agreement between Kennecott and Talon.

Upon DNR approval, Talon has the right to explore state-owned lands consistent with the exploration plan, any stipulations, and applicable laws and rules.

Find a summary report and associated map of the proposed exploration related activities at the DNR's exploration plan webpage.


December 2021

Dec. 8, 2021 - Plan submitted to explore on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

Teck American Incorporated (Teck) submitted a proposed exploration plan to continue exploration for metallic mineral deposits on leased state mineral rights in an area about five (5) miles southeast of Babbitt, Minnesota. Teck has drilled in this area of St. Louis County since 2007.

Over the next year, Teck plans to drill exploratory borings at four sites and environmental wells at two sites using sonic, air rotary, reverse circulation, and diamond core methods. The plan states that Teck will drill and seal the borings and wells according to regulations set by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Access across and drilling in wetlands will occur in winter; drilling on upland sites may occur at various times throughout the year. New access trails are proposed to reach some drill sites, some of which may be improved to allow year-round access.

Upon DNR approval Teck has the right to explore state-owned lands consistent with the exploration plan, any stipulations, and applicable laws and rules.

Find a summary report and associated map of the proposed exploration related activities at the DNR's exploration plan webpage.

 

Dec. 8, 2021 - Plan submitted to explore on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

Vermillion Gold Inc. (VGI) submitted a proposed plan to explore for metallic mineral deposits on leased state mineral rights about 11 miles southeast of Big Fork, Minnesota in Itasca County. VGI's plan proposes drilling exploratory borings. VGI drilled exploratory borings in the area last winter and as recently as this fall.

This winter, VGI plans to drill exploratory borings at 17 drill sites using the rotosonic drilling method. All proposed drilling will occur under adequately frozen conditions, according to the exploration plan.

Rotosonic drilling uses high frequency vibration of the drill bit to advance and collect cores of soils, glacial sediments, and a short length of the underlying bedrock. Rotosonic borings end shortly after encountering the top of the bedrock. The plan says VGI will seal the borings following regulations set by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Upon DNR approval VGI has the right to explore state-owned lands consistent with the exploration plan, any stipulations, and applicable laws and rules.

Find a summary report and associated map of the proposed exploration related activities at the DNR's exploration plan webpage.

 

Dec. 1, 2021 - Bidding opens today for DNR's December land sale online auction

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has 10 parcels for sale including recreational and lakeshore properties, as well as a 7.7 acre property with commercial development potential in the city of Cloquet.

Properties in Anoka, Carlton, Itasca, Pine, St. Louis, and Wadena counties are available for online bidding from Wednesday, Dec. 1, through Wednesday, Dec. 15.

Anyone interested in bidding on a property needs to register for an account on MinnBid. Visit the DNR land sale webpage to obtain property data sheets, terms and conditions of sale, and instructions for participating in the MinnBid system.

Contact us
Call 651-259-5432, 888-646-6367 or email with questions about a specific property.


November 2021

Nov. 1, 2021 - Online auction announced for the Minnesota DNR's December 2021 land sale

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has state lands for sale in Anoka, Carlton, Itasca, Pine, St. Louis, and Wadena counties. The ten parcels for sale include recreational and lakeshore properties as well as a 7.7 acre property with commercial potential in the city of Cloquet.

Land sales help the DNR optimize its land holdings and meet its responsibility to maximize recreational, conservation, and economic opportunities for the state.

Visit the DNR land sale webpage for more information about the December online public land auction, preview lands for sale, and learn how to register for an account to bid on properties.

The auction
This December's online public land auction is in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Administration at MinnBid, Minnesota's Surplus Services online auction website. Properties will be available for bidding Wednesday, Dec. 1 through Wed., December 15.

Register to bid
Prior to participating in the auction, anyone interested in bidding on a property needs to register for an account on MinnBid. Visit the DNR land sale webpage to obtain property data sheets, terms and conditions of sale, and instructions for participating in the MinnBid system.

Contact us
Call 651-259-5432, 888-646-6367 or email with questions about a specific property.


October 2021

Oct. 12, 2021 - Plan submitted to explore on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

Vermillion Gold Inc. (VGI) submitted a proposed plan to explore for metallic mineral deposits on leased state mineral rights in St. Louis County. The exploration activities will occur on leased state mineral rights between the cities of Virginia and Gilbert, Minnesota. VGI has explored for gold in this area since 2007.

Beginning this fall, VGI plans to drill exploratory borings at six drill sites using the diamond core drilling method. All proposed drill sites are on uplands, according to the exploration plan. The plan also states VGI will seal the borings following regulations set by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Upon DNR approval VGI has the right to explore state-owned lands consistent with the exploration plan, any stipulations, and applicable laws and rules.

Find a summary report and associated map of the proposed exploration related activities at the DNR's exploration plan webpage.

 

Oct. 1, 2021 - State taconite iron ore and nonferrous metallic minerals leasing request in Crow Wing County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received a new request from North Star Manganese, Inc. (North Star) for state minerals leases on 800 acres northwest of Emily, Minnesota in Crow Wing County. North Star is seeking to explore for manganese. The DNR is seeking public input on this request for state leases through October 30, 2021.

Manganese is a metallic mineral often associated with iron ore. The manganese found in Crow Wing County is the 2nd largest known manganese deposit in the United States. Manganese is an essential alloy used to convert iron into steel, making steel less brittle and adding strength. More recently, manganese has become an increasingly important mineral for the manufacturing of green energy technologies, such as electric vehicle batteries and off-the-grid power systems.

Connect with us:
The DNR has posted information on its website about this new negotiated lease request, including interactive web maps, details for public input opportunities, and additional information about the manganese mineral. Written public input about the company's lease request will be accepted from October 1, 2021 through 4:30 p.m. on October 30, 2021:

By US Mail: Minnesota DNR
Division of Lands and Minerals
Attention: Negotiated Metallic Mineral Leases
500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4045

By email: [email protected]

Additional information:
Minnesota law gives the DNR the authority to determine which state-owned lands and minerals are available for lease and requires Executive Council approval before leases are issued. A state mineral lease would give North Star authority to explore for manganese.

Following consideration of any public input, the DNR will make a final decision about whether to negotiate with the company and present proposed leases to the Executive Council. The State Executive Council's next regularly scheduled meeting is on December 1, 2021 and is open to the public. It is possible that North Star's lease requests will be considered by the State Executive Council at that meeting, if the DNR decides to recommend them to the Council. Information about Executive Council meetings involving minerals leasing is posted on both the DNR's website and on the State Executive Council's website.