Biden bans mining in part of northern Minnesota
The Biden administration effectively banned mining across a swath of land in northern Minnesota, putting a roadblock in front of the Twin Metals mining project for at least two decades.
Why it matters: House Republicans are eviscerating the move’s timing because it happened just after Biden struck a deal for minerals from Africa and suggested they’ll zero in on his efforts to support mining overseas.
What’s happening: The Interior Department thrilled environmentalists and indigenous communities by withdrawing roughly 225,000 acres near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from mining practices for 20 years.
- Twin Metals sought to use this area for its proposed copper-nickel mine. The company, which sued the Biden administration for canceling its mineral leases, responded by saying in a statement that it is "committed to enforcing" its "rights."
- "With an eye toward protecting this special place for future generations, I have made this decision using the best-available science and extensive public input,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a news release.
What they’re saying: Rep. Pete Stauber — the Republican who represents where Twin Metals would be built — responded by aiming fire at a mineral supply deal Biden inked in December with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia.
- "America needs to develop our vast mineral wealth, right here at home, with high-wage, union protected jobs instead of continuing to send American taxpayer dollars to countries like the Congo that use child slave labor," Stauber said in a statement.
The bottom line: Northern Minnesota is especially wet and rich in biodiversity, making it a difficult place to mine, but a ban right now will unquestionably have political costs.