DNR Sells Mineral Leases Despite Landowner Concerns
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on Thursday will begin auctioning off mineral leases for 621 parcels of land where deposits are likely to be found, according to a report by the Duluth News Tribune.
Mining supporters contend that the leases are a necessary step toward accessing Minnesota's untapped minerals and creating jobs. The state owns the mineral rights for each of the parcels of land.
The leases would allow companies to prospect for minerals-including copper, nickel, and gold-but some landowners oppose the process. Critics told the Duluth News Tribune that landowners are at a disadvantage, and some of them don't even know that they don't own the minerals that could potentially exist beneath their property.
For example, the DNR auction includes mineral rights for 120 of the 200 acres owned by Ron Brodigan. The winning bidder is required to negotiate with Brodigan for access, but state laws generally favor mineral rights over surface rights-which means that Brodigan can't simply deny access to his property, according to the Duluth News Tribune.
Brodigan said that he and his neighbors are “disgusted” by the amount of potential damage, noise, and pollution they will experience as a result of work done by mining companies.
To view the newspaper's story and learn more about the auction and the laws governing mineral rights, click here.