DNR annual mineral rights lease sale todayby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Today is the annual sale by the Department of Natural Resources for leases to explore for copper, nickel, and other minerals in northeastern Minnesota.
The state is offering 63,000 acres in St. Louis, Lake, and Aitkin counties. Many of the parcels have been previously offered, but the DNR hopes increased interest in copper-nickel deposits in Minnesota will prompt companies to bid.
DNR Assistant Director of Lands and Minerals Kathy Lewis said officials choose the parcels based on recommendations from outside and inside the agency.
"We do ask potential bidders if they have areas that they would like us to consider offering, and our geologists also identify areas that they believe would be of interest to possible bidders," Lewis said.
The state earned $1.4 million on lease payments for copper-nickel exploration last year. Last year's lease sale generated controversy when private landowners protested the sale of state-held mineral rights on their property.