MINNEAPOLIS — The Trump administration has lifted a roadblock to copper-nickel mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota.
The Obama administration in 2016 withdrew around 234,000 acres of the Rainy River watershed near Ely from eligibility for mineral leasing pending further study, citing the potential threat to the Boundary Waters.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday canceled the withdrawal, saying its review revealed no new scientific information. It says companies may soon be able to sign mineral leases in the area.
The Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters denounced the decision, saying the administration ignored science and facts.
Twin Metals Minnesota, which hopes to build a copper-nickel mine near Ely, says the decision ensures that federal lands that had been open to mining activities for decades will remain open.