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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July 2021

July 12, 2021 - Online auction announced for the Minnesota DNR’s 2021 summer land sale

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has state lands for sale in Pine and Wadena counties. The five parcels for sale include rural and recreational properties. Annual land sales help the DNR optimize its land holdings and meet its responsibility to maximize recreational, conservation, and economic opportunities for the state.

All are welcome to participate in DNR public land auctions. Visit the DNR land sale webpage for more information about 2021 summer and fall public land sales.

The auction

This summer’s online public land auction is in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Administration at MinnBid, Minnesota’s Surplus Services online auction website. Properties in Pine and Wadena counties will be available for bidding Wednesday, July 28 through noon CST on Friday, Aug. 6.

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.

 

July 2, 2021 - State Nonferrous Metallic Mineral Leasing Requests for Negotiated Metallic Mineral Leases

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received new requests for negotiated nonferrous metallic minerals leases from Kennecott Exploration Company (Kennecott) and from Vermillion Gold, Inc. (Vermillion). Both companies have been actively exploring for nonferrous minerals for a number of years.

Kennecott already holds a number of state metallic mineral leases in Aitkin and Carlton counties and has requested to add one 40-acre parcel to an existing lease in Aitkin County. Vermillion also holds state metallic mineral leases in Itasca and St. Louis counties. Vermillion’s current request seeks three additional leases covering 866 acres in St. Louis County.

Additional information:

By law, the DNR has authority to lease state-owned mineral rights to raise revenue for schools, the University of Minnesota, and local governments. The State Executive Council – the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, and Minnesota Attorney General – must approve all state metallic minerals leases, including negotiated leases.

Connect with us:

The DNR has posted information about Kennecott and Vermillion’s lease requests, including interactive web maps and details on public input opportunities on its website. Written public input about each company’s lease request will be accepted from July 2, 2021 through 4:30 p.m. on August 1, 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]

Following consideration of any public input, the DNR will make a final decision about whether to negotiate with the two companies and present proposed leases to the Executive Council. The State Executive Council’s next meeting on August 25, 2021 is open to the public. It is possible that Kennecott’s and Vermillion’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.


April 2021

April 28, 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 exploration plan proposes conducting geophysical surveys, along a grid area, that may include sampling bedrock and soils using hand tools. VGI drilled exploratory borings in this area last winter.

VGI’s new proposal includes a magnetics survey that does not require clearing vegetation from the exploration area. Additionally, the proposal does not include exploration activities on or over ponds and lakes. All other geophysical survey activities on lands along the grid area may require cutting three feet of brush, as needed for access, the proposal states. VGI will conduct the surveys on foot but may use motorized vehicles to traverse the land, where existing site conditions support the use of vehicles.

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.


March 2021

March 30, 2021 - DNR completes sand and gravel resource potential map of Kandiyohi County

Geologists in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Aggregate Resource Mapping Program (ARMP) completed a new natural resources map showing the potential for sand and gravel deposits in Kandiyohi County. Aggregate resource maps are an important tool to assist in local land use planning and identifying local resources needed to construct roads, bridges, trails and buildings.

The project’s datasets including a map to locate sand and gravel and a countywide gravel pit survey are now available. Land use planners, industry, and environmental groups can download the digital map plate (PDF format) and related GIS data from the Kandiyohi County Aggregate Resource Mapping webpage. Paper copy maps are available upon request.

The sand and gravel map for Kandiyohi County is the most recent product from DNR providing field-researched information to help land use planners and industry leaders make informed decisions on how to maintain access to and best use these resources for local infrastructure and construction needs. Throughout the next 10 years, 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 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. The 2017 Aggregate Resources Task Force legislative committee provides additional support for aggregate resource mapping.

For more information, visit the Aggregate Mapping home page or contact program geologist Chad Crotty.

Counties are encouraged to email ARMP to join the program and begin developing a funding and deployment plan.

 

March 23, 2021 - Plan submitted to explore on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

Talon Nickel (USA) LLC (Talon) submitted a proposed plan to explore for metallic mineral deposits on leased state mineral rights about one half to five miles north of Tamarack, Minnesota in Aitkin County. Kennecott Exploration Company (Kennecott) and Talon have explored in this area since the early 2000s.

Talon’s exploration plan proposes down-hole geophysical surveys and ground-based surveys at proposed and historic boring sites.

Talon plans to use the diamond core drilling method to drill exploratory borings in bedrock. The plan includes drilling the borings on 20 drill pads; Talon may drill multiple borings from each drill pad. Talon also proposes temporary access trails and plastic flotation mats to reach some drill sites safely. Talon proposes to seal the borings, following regulations set by the Department of Health.

Talon will conduct the bulk of ground-based surveys on foot. Where existing site conditions allow, Talon may use motorized vehicles to traverse the land. Talon will place signs when conducting geophysical surveys. Talon may need to cut small amounts of brush to place survey equipment; Talon will not cut lines or grids.

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.

 

March 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.

Teck’s proposed exploration plan requests a one-year extension to complete exploration activities initially proposed in November 2019. Under the original 2019 exploration plan, Teck prepared new trails and drill sites for six of the eight drill sites. The proposal includes new access trails to reach a drill site at section 28 and the northern site at Section 36.

In the 2021 plan, Teck proposes to drill exploratory borings on two sites using the diamond core drilling method. In support of hydrologic explorations, Teck’s new plan also includes drilling environmental holes on six sites using sonic, reverse circulation, air rotary, or diamond core methods. Any drilling in wetlands will occur in winter; drilling at upland sites may occur at various times throughout the year. All drilling activity, including sealing, will follow regulations set by the Department of Health.

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.


February 2021

Feb. 18, 2021 - Plan submitted to explore on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

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

The VGI exploration plan proposes to cut brush to a width of about three feet as needed for access to lands along the grid. VGI will conduct the bulk of the survey on foot and may use motorized vehicles where existing site conditions support the use of vehicles to traverse the land. VGI will place signs when conducting the geophysical survey.

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.


December 2020

Dec. 17, 2020 - Plan submitted to explore on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

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

Teck plans to drill environmental holes at two sites in support of hydrologic investigations. Drilling methods may include sonic, rotary, or reverse circulation and diamond core. Drilling activity in wetlands will occur in winter and follow regulations set by the Department of Health.

Wetlands may need to be crossed to reach the drill site; new temporary access trails across wetlands will be brushed and built on snow and ice. Upland sites with year-round access may be drilled other times of the year.

Teck indicates it will secure permits and authorizations for wetlands impacts, if applicable.

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. 4, 2020 - Plan submitted to explore on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

Vermillion Gold Inc. (VGI) submitted two plans to continue exploration for metallic mineral deposits in Itasca County. This winter, exploration will occur on leased state mineral rights in an area about 11 miles southeast of Big Fork, Minnesota. VGI last explored for gold in this area in 2010.

Using the rotosonic drilling method, VGI plans to drill seven exploratory borings. Three additional exploratory borings will be drilled using the diamond core drilling method. Drilling activity, including sealing, will follow regulations set by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Upon DNR approval VGI has the right to explore state-owned lands consistent with the exploration plans, 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.


November 2020

Nov. 23, 2020 - 2020 sealed bid land auction a huge success

The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines meant that this year’s DNR land sale looked different from our usual public auctions.

The DNR land sale team collaborated successfully to offer a sealed bid public auction with a mechanism to allow online public participation in the presentation of the bid awards, keeping in mind the health and safety of our customers and staff.

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 18 parcels for sale in Cass, Cook, Hubbard, Otter Tail, Pine, St. Louis and Wadena counties included rural and lakeshore properties, with many recreational opportunities.

The DNR held its sealed bid presentation on November 6, 2020. The auction resulted in 11 of 18 parcels sold, including a parcel in Hubbard County that sold for triple the minimum bid; all but one parcel sold for over the minimum bid.

Congratulations to all the high bidders!

Three of the unsold parcels are now available for purchase over-the-counter. Find more information and the 2020 auction results on the land sale webpage.


October 2020

Oct. 30, 2020 -Public release of exploration data from terminated state metallic mineral leases

DNR posts mineral exploration data from AngloGold Ashanti Minnesota Inc.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) posted new mineral exploration data on the agency’s website, submitted by AngloGold Ashanti Minnesota Inc., in fulfillment of state metallic mineral lease requirements. Submitted data includes geological, geochemical, geophysical, and other exploration-related information.

The posted data includes information from mineral exploration areas in Itasca, Koochiching and Saint Louis Counties.

DNR summaries and AngloGold Ashanti Minnesota Inc.’s exploration data are on DNR's Mineral Potential projects page. Please contact Stacy Saari, Mineral Potential Geologist, or Jim Olson, GIS specialist, for more information.

 

Oct 16, 2020 - Plan submitted to explore on state nonferrous metallic minerals lease

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

VGI plans to map geological features and sample soils. VGI will access sampling locations on foot, where motorized vehicles are not supported and accessible. Soil samples will be collected on uplands using hand tools. Wetland will not be sampled.

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 activities at the DNR's exploration plan webpage.

 

Oct. 8, 2020 - Sealed bid auction and parcels announced for Minnesota DNR's 2020 land sale

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has state lands for sale in Cass, Cook, Hubbard, Otter Tail, Pine, St. Louis and Wadena counties.

The 18 parcels for sale include rural and lakeshore properties, 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.

This year, the DNR will provide a process for a sealed bid auction that does not require bidders to be present. Mail-in bidding opened to the public on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m. and all sealed bids must be received by 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5.

A presentation of the bids will be held by online platform at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6. Participation in the virtual bid opening is optional and registration is required to attend. Event registration details can be found on the DNR land sale webpage.

Bids should be sent to DNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4045. All bid forms must be mailed in using the U.S. Postal Service. The DNR Central Office will not accept hand-delivered bid forms.

Prior to participating in the sealed bid auction, bidders need to obtain property data sheets and must be familiar with the property, minimum bid, and terms and conditions of sale for all properties in which they are interested in bidding.

The public can visit the DNR land sale webpage to obtain a property data sheet, bid form, and instructions for participating in the sealed bid auction. Call 651-259-5432, 888-646-6367 or email [email protected] with questions about a specific property.

All are welcome to participate in the public auction. Visit the DNR land sale webpage for more information about the 2020 public land sale, including steps to obtain an official sealed bid form.