DNR - Monthly Update: Twin Metals Minnesota EIS

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minnesota department of natural resources

Minnesota DNR - Monthly Update:
Twin Metals Minnesota EIS

October 2021

About this Update

To provide information about the State’s environmental review of Twin Metals Minnesota’s project proposal, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be issuing monthly updates to those who have signed up to receive them on the State web portal for Twin Metals Minnesota project. This message is the monthly update for activity during October 2021.

Each monthly update will provide information on the status of Minnesota’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process and identify any new documents that have been posted on the DNR’s webpages for the project since the prior monthly update.

The DNR is the responsible governmental unit for the State’s EIS. Please note that the federal government is preparing a separate EIS for the Twin Metals project. Information about the Federal EIS is available on the Bureau of Land Management’s National Environmental Policy Act Webpage. [Please note that the Federal EIS link is not set up to open with Internet Explorer; an alternate browser is needed.]

State EIS Process Status

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has submitted a federal mineral withdrawal application to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) related to the Rainy River Watershed. The BLM’s acceptance of the application and publication of a notice in the Federal Register temporarily prohibits the issuance of new federal prospecting permits and leases in the watershed. Given the USFS proposal’s complexity and its many potential implications, the Minnesota DNR will need time to review it and consider what this may mean for state lands and minerals in the watershed. The DNR will also need to evaluate any implications of the federal minerals withdrawal application for the proposed Twin Metals project, which is in the Rainy River Watershed. The DNR will explore these matters carefully and comprehensively.

Preparation of an EIS for any large and complex project is a multi-year process. The DNR is currently in the scoping phase of the EIS process for the proposed Twin Metals project. The scoping process helps ensure the future EIS assesses the proposed project’s potentially significant environmental impacts, but also helps define project alternatives, potential mitigations, timelines and additional data needs.

The scoping process is iterative. As is typical for a project of this complexity, the DNR anticipates multiple rounds of DNR comments followed by revisions from Twin Metals.

The DNR continues to review the proposer’s fourth Project Proposal revision for completeness and is working with Emmons and Olivier Resources, Inc. (EOR) on preparation of the overall scoping document. As noted in prior updates, EOR is the consultant hired by the DNR to assist with the EIS. Twin Metals is required to reimburse all costs associated with the EIS, including contractor assistance.

New Documents Available

The following new documents were posted in October 2021 to our project website. Please click on underlined text to link directly to the material(s).

DNR Documents

No DNR documents were posted in October 2021.

Proposer Documents

October 5, 2021 TMM Alternative Screening Evaluation Report. This document describes Twin Metals’ perspective on alternatives selection for DNR consideration during the scoping process. As part of the environmental review process, a number of potential alternatives to specific project elements are developed for future review. These alternatives can include things like alternative sites, modified designs or layouts, modified scale or magnitude, and other items from the proposed project. 

October 13, 2021 TMM Environmental Review Support Document Glossary. This document contains information for the reader to understand how Twin Metals proposed using terms across state and federal environmental review documents. 

More information

All project updates and key documents (new and previously posted) can be accessed through the State web portal for Twin Metals Minnesota project. The website provides access to basic information about the project, EIS status updates and documents, fact sheets to help explain the process and summarize complex issues, and proposer-developed data and studies that have been submitted for DNR review. Project updates are available through the News tab.

If you would like to receive email updates on the environmental review process, please sign up with your email address.