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.
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.
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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.