Posted at: 03/06/2013 5:27 PM
Minnesota's Executive Council has approved an iron ore mining lease near Coleraine with Magnetation LLC.
The leased area is commonly known as the Cushing and Buckeye Reserve and is adjacent to the inactive Canisteo mine. The DNR said no private surface land owners will be affected by the lease since all of the land is either school trust land or county tax-forfeited land.
The DNR said the approval is the first step of developing the proposed mine, which still needs to undergo an environmental review and permitting process. Magnetation is expected to develop a comprehensive project plan within the next five years.
DNR officials are working to find new locations for ski, bike, and snowmobile trails and a gun club which could eventually be displaced by the mine. At the recommendation of the Western Mesabi Range Planning Board, the lease excludes a parcel of land where a community ski hill and jump is located.
The state estimates the lease will bring between $50 million and $220 million to the state's Permanent School Trust. Interest and dividends from the fund are distributed to all school districts statewide twice per year.
The Executive Council includes Gov. Mark Dayton, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Attorney General Lori Swanson, and Auditor Rebecca Otto.