Government seeks to dismiss Twin Metals mining lease lawsuit

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, December 13, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Government attorneys are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a company that’s trying to renew its minerals leases so it can build a large underground copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota.

In a motion filed late Monday, attorneys for the Interior Department say the lawsuit by Twin Metals Minnesota is premature because it doesn’t challenge a final agency decision. It notes that the Bureau of Land Management has yet to decide whether to renew the leases, which were last renewed in 2004.

Twin Metals is challenging an opinion issued by the solicitor of the Interior Department that says it doesn’t have an automatic right of renewal. The company says that opinion has cast a cloud that makes it difficult to proceed with its proposed mine near Ely.

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