White Iron Chain Of Lakes Association

News & Updates Blog

Information on DNR Fish and Wildlife license fee initiative

Recently, you may have heard that Governor Dayton has proposed to bolster Minnesota’s natural resources and outdoor recreation.

 In 2017, a modest increase has been proposed on hunting and fishing licenses which will require State Legislative approval to be enacted.

In an effort to inform hunters and anglers about this proposal, the DNR will be holding a series of public information meetings across the state. The DNR has arranged to have a meeting in Ely at;

Vermilion Community College on Wednesday, March 1st at 6 pm in the Classroom Building Room 110.

Visit the DNR website for more information:



AIS Research on Mille Lacs Lake may explain walleye woes

Duluth News Tribune 2/19/17

Researchers hope to get to the bottom of the challenges that face Mille Lacs Lake walleyes by digging deep into the lake's past.

A group of researchers drilled seven core samples from the lake floor this past week, hoping to look back at least 50 years at what was going on then and now, specifically since the invasive species, spiny waterflea, was discovered there in 2009.

The group of scientists from the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and University of Minnesota Duluth plan to analyze that 50 years’ worth of sediment pulled from the lake, after extracting about 200 years’ worth from the icy depths. Researchers hope to learn more about the role that spiny waterfleas have had in disrupting the food web and contributing to the decrease in walleye numbers.

Researchers will analyze the data to identify potential ecosystem impacts that could be felt by game fish like walleye. This study could also help researchers learn more about the long-term threat to fish posed by spiny waterflea, and how Minnesotans will be affected, according to Christine Lee, communications specialist with Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.

Donn Branstrator, associate professor with the University of Minnesota Duluth, partnered with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center for this project. He was out hopping from hole to hole this week gathering samples from three main sites throughout the basin of the lake.

In his initial assessment of the sampling, there was not much to be surprised about except for the high volume of people on the lake.

"There are a ton of fish houses out here," he noted shortly after pulling the last sample from the lake.

It's possible spiny waterflea made it into Mille Lacs Lake earlier than 2009 and went unnoticed for a while, Lee said. They were first discovered in Minnesota in 1987 in Lake Superior and are now in about 40 waterbodies in Minnesota. They are native to Asia and Europe.

The hypothesis with spiny waterflea is that they eat so much native zooplankton, they wipe out the bottom of the food chain and disturb the whole web, Lee said. However, in lakes that also have zebra mussels, it can be hard to pinpoint which species is doing what.

"There is a lot that is still unknown regarding their ecological impacts; we do know that in addition to these ecological impacts, they also clog the eyelets of fishing rods and cause problems for recreationalists," Lee said in an email.

As a way to better understand what effect spiny waterflea and zebra mussels have on a fishery, the researchers are not only looking at Mille Lacs, which has both invasive species, they also plan to take samples from Lake Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake (which have zebra mussels, but no spiny waterflea) and Kabetogama Lake (which has spiny waterflea, but no zebra mussel.)

For the full article;



Owners of resorts, campgrounds and rental businesses required to take aquatic invasive species training

By Minnesota DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species training to owners of lake service provider businesses, so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

Lake service provider businesses include resorts, outfitters and campgrounds that rent or lease boats and other water-related equipment. Business owners must attend training, apply for a permit and pay a $50 application fee every three years to comply with Minnesota law.

When the law and permit began in 2012, it applied only to some resorts and outfitters, along with businesses such as marinas, dock haulers, lawn irrigators and others who install or remove equipment from state waters for hire, said April Rust, DNR aquatic invasive species training coordinator.

The law was updated in 2013 to include any businesses that rent any type of boats or other water-related equipment.

“That means resorts and campgrounds that offer equipment to their guests like pontoons, fishing boats or kayaks and canoes as a part of their stay, need training on AIS and this permit,” she said. 

Eleven AIS training sessions are planned around the state starting this month, and a new online training will be available in March. Training is offered in winter to give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out. Registration deadlines for in-person training are one week prior to each training. A listing all 2017 training sessions is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp/calendar.   

Overall, Minnesotans are doing a good job of helping to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Less than 5 percent of Minnesota lakes are on the infested waters list.

To register for training or for more information, visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/lsp.


Forest Service seeking comments on future mining projects in the BWCAW watershed

The U.S. Forest Service made formal its proposal to call a two-year timeout on new mining around the edges of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The Forest Service plan, announced in December at the same time the federal government denied critical mineral leases to the Twin Metals copper project near Ely, will prevent any new mining projects or exploration on 234,328 acres in the Superior National Forest.

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2017

The Forest Service says the land and water immediately around the BWCAW may be too fragile to withstand potential contamination from copper-nickel mining.

This January 13th action triggers a 90-day public comment period on agency’s plan to withdraw the land from the federal minerals leasing program.

The Forest Service and the Department of Interior are seeking comments from the public on whether they should stop leasing federal minerals in the BWCA watershed to mining companies for the next twenty years.

The Forest Service states that “Comments are most useful if they refer to an activity or mitigation rather than stated values. For example comments such as ‘This area is used by many people for gathering berries’ can help us inform the analysis more than the comment ‘I do/don’t think you should withdraw federal mineral leases”.

A public meeting to accept comments on the plan will be held March 16 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

In addition to the public meeting, comments can be sent to:

-          Connie Cummins, Forest Supervisor, Superior National Forest, 8901 Grand Avenue Place, Duluth, MN 55808-1122

-          Emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-          Posted to the US Forest Service - Superior National Forest Website;


-          Faxed to (218) 626-4398.

For more information, go to www.fs.usda.gov/projects/superior/landmanagement/projectsand click on “developing proposal.”



Asian Carp workshop

Save the date!

Risk-based management for bigheaded carps

A workshop to discuss the findings and implications of the Minnesota Bigheaded Carps Risk Assessment

To help inform Asian carp management and research priorities in Minnesota, a risk assessment was recently conducted to assess the threats posed by bigheaded carps (also known as bighead and silver carp, two of the four species of Asian carp) to the state of Minnesota.  

This workshop will serve as an opportunity to share the findings from this risk assessment and to discuss their implications with a broad group of stakeholders, decision-makers, researchers, managers, and interested members of the public from Minnesota and the surrounding area. Attendees will have the opportunity, through small and large group discussions, to learn about the risk assessment and to deliberate on the implications of these findings for management efforts in Minnesota.


When: March 15, 2017

8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus


Details for the workshop, as well as the Minnesota Bigheaded Carps Risk Assessment report itself, will be provided in February.


MPCA / Wild Rice Standards Meetings on Changes

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will be hosting three open-house meetings this month on upcoming changes to the state’s wild rice sulfate standard.

For WICOLA members who may be interested in attending, the meetings are offered as follows: 

·         January 17, 2017:6:00pm-8:00pm, Dakota Lodge, 1200 Stassen Ln, St. Paul, MN 55118

·         January 25, 2017: 6:30pm-8:30pm, Kirby Student Center, 1120 Kirby Dr., Duluth, MN 55812

·         January 31, 2017: 6:00pm-8:00pm, Northeast Service Cooperative Office, 5525 Emerald Dr., Mountain Iron, MN

For more information on how the MPCA is working to protect wild rice waters, please visit the wild rice webpage


Winter Lake Views

The Ice is in with both anglers and snowmobilers out on the lakes. Here is a view of White Iron Lake taken by one of our Board Members, Jeff Pike on 1/9/16.

Remember, there really is no sure answer as to when Ice is safe. You can't judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors -- plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, currents, water chemistry, movement of fish, and the distribution of the load on the ice.


Federal Agencies deny request to renew Twin Metals mineral leases

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture today announced important steps to protect the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Officials of the agencies said the massive underground mine proposed along the Kawishiwi River is simply too close to the BWCAW. The project is within the BWCAW watershed that flows north into Canada, and critics have said that any polluted runoff from rock high in sulfur could taint the popular, lake-studded wilderness.

Citing broad concerns from thousands of public comments and input about potential impacts of mining on the wilderness area’s watershed, fish and wildlife, and the nearly $45 million recreation economy, the agencies today took actions that denied an application for renewal of two hard rock mineral leases in the area, as well as initiated steps to withdraw key portions of the watershed from new mineral permits and leases.

“The Boundary Waters is a natural treasure, special to the 150,000 who canoe, fish, and recreate there each year, and is the economic life blood to local business that depend on a pristine natural resource,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a joint statement with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “I have asked Interior to take a time out, conduct a careful environmental analysis and engage the public on whether future mining should be authorized on any federal land next door to the Boundary Waters.”

“Today’s best available science is helping us understand the value of the land and water and potential impacts of development in places like the Boundary Waters,” Jewell said. “This is the right action to take to avoid irrevocably damaging this watershed and its recreation-based economy, while also taking the time and space to review whether to further protect the area from all new mining.”

The BLM will review the withdrawal application and issue a notice in the Federal Register to segregate the lands – essentially, place them in a ‘time out’ – for up to two years, subject to valid existing rights.  To preserve the status quo during that ‘time out,’ no new mineral exploration or development applications would be accepted while a thorough, scientific environmental analysis is conducted.  Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, there will be an initial 90-day public review period for the proposed withdrawal and additional analysis during the segregation period that will include further public involvement, including public meetings. The next administration would have the option of revisiting the BLM’s decision, though any unilateral termination of the review would likely prompt a backlash.

Twin Metals Minnesota, a subsidiary of the Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, holds the two expired mineral leases dating to 1966. It applied for their renewal in 2012, and federal officials held two listening sessions in the state this summer and received more than 30,000 comments. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) came out against renewal, as did Minnesotan and former vice president Walter Mondale.

BLM Press Release; https://www.blm.gov/press-release/obama-administration-takes-steps-protect-watershed-boundary-waters-canoe-area

Duluth News Tribune; http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/mining/4180601-feds-take-back-mineral-leases-twin-metals

Washington Post; https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/15/obama-administration-denies-mining-leases-near-boundary-waters-wilderness-in-minnesota/?utm_term=.59b7f4491a57


Lake Ice Observations

Several WICOLA Board members report Lake Ice Observations to the Minnesota DNR. Their observations will occasionally be posted here as a reverence to WICOLA members.

Remember, there really is no sure answer as to when Ice is safe. You can't judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors -- plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, currents, water chemistry, movement of fish, and the distribution of the load on the ice.

For more information on Ice Safety, follow this link to the Minnesota DNR website; http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/index.html


White Iron

The cold weather has finally arrived. White Iron is completely frozen over this morning…Dec 9th. Everyone hope is to make some good ice with predicted cold weather coming. As a point of reference, “Ice In” for White Iron last year was on November 29th.


Widespread ice has been reported on Garden Lake. He seemed a bit uncertain about the area near the dam where the current runs, but from a distance it appears to be ice.


Ice in has been reported for Farm Lake.  Some open water may be on the river side of Farm due to the current.Several WICOLA Board members report Lake Ice Observations to the Minnesota DNR. Their observations will occasionally be posted here as a reverence to WICOLA members.



U.S. EPA proposes rule requiring mines to cover clean-up costs

From MPR News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a new financial responsibility rule for the hard rock mining industry, aimed at ensuring that taxpayers aren't left on the hook for potentially expensive mine clean-ups.

The rule would require mining companies to demonstrate their ability to pay for clean-up costs by using financial instruments such as trust funds, bonds or letters of credit. It would cover copper, gold, iron ore and other kinds of hard rock mines under the federal Superfund law — but not coal operations.

In a statement announcing the proposal, the EPA argued that by moving the financial risk from taxpayers, the rule would give mining companies "an economic incentive to use environmentally protective practices that can help prevent future release."

The EPA reports it spent nearly $1.1 billion between 2010 and 2014 on response and clean up actions at mines and mineral processing sites.

The agency estimates the rule would affect 221 facilities nationwide, including 14 in Minnesota, the third-most of any state.

Frank Ongaro, with the industry group Mining Minnesota, said Minnesota already has comprehensive financial assurance rules for copper-nickel mines.

"This will result in no benefit to a project, no benefit to the environment, no benefit to the taxpayers," he said. "It will add nothing but cost and chase away investment."

It's unclear what kind of impact the rule could have on the state's iron ore mining industry. Representatives from mining companies and the state's trade association could not be reached for comment.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which oversees mine reclamation and administers financial assurance requirements for mines, has not yet seen the EPA's proposal.

"DNR will of course be looking closely at EPA's ideas for federal requirements and evaluating how they might relate to Minnesota's own rigorous environmental and taxpayer protections," said assistant DNR commissioner Barb Naramore.

The public has 60 days to comment on the rule.

For more information and to comment, please visit the EPA website;



Lake associations, local governments boost spending against aquatic invaders

From The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Lake associations and local governments have significantly boosted their spending in recent years against aquatic invasive species, or AIS, according to a statewide survey of local efforts.

Although the dollar amount — about $3 million a year — isn’t huge, it’s nearly half of what the state government spends on prevention and eradication of invaders like zebra mussels and starry stonewort.

Private residents and lake associations spent nearly $2 million fighting invasive species in 2015, while local governments spent about $1 million, according to the survey, sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations and Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates. That’s nearly double the amount spent five years ago by private groups and local governments.

“Lake associations, if taken collectively, are the hardest-working, most generous, most effective conservation group in the state,” said Jeff Forester, executive director of Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates.

Forester said the statewide spending survey actually understates the amount being spent locally, as fewer than half of the state’s 500-plus lake associations participated.

With the recent tilt toward more conservative leadership at the state and federal government levels, Forester said, it’s even more vital for local groups and individuals to do their part to keep Minnesota’s waters clean.

“People will say to me, ‘Why isn’t the state doing something?’ ” Forester said. “So I’m telling people: We just voted for smaller government, less money, fewer rules. So how do we protect these lakes?

“We do it on the ground, lake by lake. It is time for you to step forward and claim your responsibility. It is about people acting locally to protect a resource that is critical to their economy and their way of life.”

“Lake associations don’t own the public waters, but when there’s a problem, they own the problem.”

The state welcomes local efforts against AIS, said Heidi Wolf, invasive species supervisor at the state Department of Natural Resources.

“We are very happy to have local partners and we support that,” Wolf said. Only about 5 percent of Minnesota’s waters are infested with an AIS, Wolf said, and local efforts can help keep that number down.

To read the full article, go to:



Check for invasive species when removing docks and closing cabins for winter

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding lake property owners to carefully check boats and trailers, docks and lifts, and all other water-related equipment for invasive species when closing cabins for winter. Several recent new zebra mussel confirmations were initially reported by people making end of season inspections of docks, boats and boat lifts.

“These recent confirmations serve as a reminder of the importance of carefully examining all equipment when taking it out of the water,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “A few simple steps now can help prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species.”

The DNR recommends these steps for lake property owners:

  • Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.
  • Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have attended training on Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.

Contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if you think you have discovered an invasive species that has not already been confirmed in your lake.


McCollum Statement on Twin Metals’ Parent Company’s Environmental Violations

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) released the following statement following reports that Antofagasta, the Chilean parent company of Twin Metals, could face up to a $24 million fine for violating Chile’s environmental protection laws:

“The revelation of Antofagasta’s environmental violations at a Chilean mine is yet another reason to reject this company’s plans to conduct dangerous mining in Minnesota’s Rainy River Drainage Basin.

“Sulfide-ore copper mining is an inherently risky activity and would likely lead to permanent damage to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park. Antofagasta’s poor environmental record conducting this type of mining in its home country exacerbates that risk.

“The Obama administration should act quickly to prevent Antofagasta from conducting sulfide-ore copper mining in the Rainy River Drainage Basin. We simply cannot allow a company that shows a reckless disregard for environmental regulations to mine next to our Minnesota treasures.”



Antofagasta's Los Pelambres mine faces potential $24 million fine, closure

Chile's environmental regulator SMA is seeking sanctions against Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres Copper Mine for breaching its environmental permit in relation to the management of water resources and failure to reforest some zones affected by mining activity. Antofagasta is the Chilean parent company of Twin Metals which has proposed to develop a mine and processing plant in the Kawishiwi watershed.

The nine charges, the second of their kind against the mine in the last 19 months, could lead to a $23.8 million fine and even the temporary or indefinite closure of Los Pelambres, SMA said in an e-mailed statement.

The infractions include the extraction of water from unauthorized sites, the construction of unapproved wells and the failure to reforest some areas as required by law.

Five of those alleged were considered serious and four minor, the SMA said.

In March last year, a Chilean court ordered the firm to destroy a giant dam it constructed for the mine, located 200 km north of capital Santiago. The company appealed, and the decision was revoked last August.

Antofagastahas 10 days to present a compliance plan to the SMA or 15 days to present a defense. The punishment for the alleged infractions could be a fine of $23.8 million or the temporary or indefinite closure of the mine, the SMA said.

In 2013, the SMA initiated a separate regulatory proceeding against Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres for mismanaging archeological sites.

Los Pelambres, located in Chile's north-central Coquimbo region, produced 375,800 tons of copper in 2015.


AIS Video

Wildlife Forever and Wired2Fish collaborated on a short film, which displays rarely seen footage of several Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) from unique perspectives.This 3-1/2 video provides a visual of infested lakes in MN and encourages us to do more to keep our waters clean.


We need your help to insure that the waters of the White Iron Chain of Lakes remains clean and pure forever!


USFS Prescribed Burn on White Iron – 10/11/16 Update

WICOLA has received the following update from the Forest Service on the White Iron burn:

The US Forest Service will NOT be conducting the burn on White Iron Lake as they had planned to do in 2016 as noted in earlier “Latest News Posts” from May.  However, the Forest Service will burn piles in the same area (Peninsula across from the inflow from Birch) today October 11th, so WICOLA members could smell or see smoke today.  Fire managers still plan to burn the slash they cut last year, but no date is set yet. 

Below is a map of the area for the area in question.



WICOLA, Ely Festivals, and AIS!

Thanks to all the volunteers who staffed the WICOLA Booth in 2016 during the three major Ely Festivals; Great American Canoe Festival, Blueberry Arts Festival, and Harvest Moon Festival. The WICOLA booth was staffed by WICOLA members, Lake County SWCD, MN DNR, and members of the Ely Area Invasives Team.

We also wish to extend our appreciation to the many people who took the time to stop by the WICOLA Booth to learn more about the WICOLA Organization as well as learn more about Aquatic Invasive Species and methods to prevent their spread into the White Iron Chain of Lakes. During the 3 festivals, WICOLA distributed Aquatic Invasive Species information to more than 1,100 individuals.

Pictured are just a few of the many volunteers and attendees at the WICOLA Booths during 2016.


A Successful Water Monitoring Season!

Thanks to all the volunteers who contributed to a successful 2016 water monitoring season on the White Iron Chain of Lakes as well Birch and Fall Lakes. Pictured are just a few of the many volunteers that make Water Monitoring happen.


Twin Metals files federal suit to keep leases

Twin Metals Minnesota on Monday filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Minnesota challenging a federal agency opinion that the company's federal mineral exploration leases for land near Ely can be revoked.

The lawsuit seeks to overturn the April 2016 opinion by the U.S. Department of the Interior instructing the Bureau of Land Management that it has the discretion to deny renewal of Twin Metals' federal mineral leases for the company's proposed underground copper-nickel mine near the Kawishiwi River.

Environmental groups and mining critics had praised the possibility that the leases could be revoked, saying the mere presence of a massive mining operation in the same watershed as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness threatened the region's freshwater ecosystem.

In June, U.S. Forest Service officials said they were "deeply concerned" about potential impacts of the proposed Twin Metals copper mine on the edge of the BWCAW. The federal mineral leases are concentrated near Birch Lake, north and south of Minnesota Highway 1.

The Forest Service is expected to release a decision later this year on whether to oppose or support renewing the permits after already signaling that the agency has problems with the potential of copper mining runoff in the BWCAW, part of the Superior National Forest. That opinion is expected to seal the fate of the leases.

But Twin Metals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, decided not to wait for that opinion.

The 26-page lawsuit challenges the Interior Department opinion as being inconsistent with federal law as well as inconsistent with the terms of Twin Metals' leases and with the federal government's established precedent in supporting and renewing the leases during the past five decades.

Company officials have called the federal leases and access to that specific land "the foundation of our project" and that the mine likely could not proceed without them.

"If not overturned, the Solicitor's unlawful opinion would eviscerate Twin Metals' long-standing federal mineral rights in northeast Minnesota, deprive Minnesota of hundreds of jobs and billions of dollars in environmentally responsible economic growth and prevent access to one of the world's largest sources of copper, nickel and platinum, which are of strategic importance to the U.S. economy and national defense," the company said Monday in announcing the lawsuit.

Mining companies pay a small fee for exclusive rights to prospect on the federal lands and then would pay a fee for any ore that's actually mined.

The leases were first issued 50 years ago to predecessor companies and have been purchased by Twin Metals in the years since as the company hones in on the most lucrative spot to dig.

The leases are under the control of the federal Bureau of Land Management, which has formally asked the Forest Service to give its consent — in effect to recommend whether renewing the leases is good for the Superior National Forest where they are located.

"The government's actions have cast a cloud of uncertainty over Twin Metals' mineral rights. The Solicitor's opinion makes it impossible for Twin Metals to engage in any long-term planning, investment, development and operational decisions, effectively thwarting any development of the mineral estate; materially harming the future mining project; and jeopardizing Twin Metals' $400 million investment to date in acquisition, exploration, technical and other activities to develop these minerals,'' Twin Metals said in summarizing its lawsuit.

Critics of the mining project disagreed with Twin Metals' interpretation of federal law.

"It is a longstanding fact that renewals of the Twin Metals federal mining leases are discretionary," said Becky Rom, national chairperson of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters. "The Bureau of Land Management's authority to renew or deny renewal based on science and proximity to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is absolutely clear. Scientific evidence shows that a sulfide-ore copper mine next to the Boundary Waters creates an unacceptable risk of harm to our priceless wilderness. Federal mining leases that pose significant risks to the Boundary Waters should be denied."

The lawsuit is against the United States, the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Land Management, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Solicitor of the Interior Hilary Tompkins.

The Forest Service concerns aired in June were by far the strongest statement yet by a regulatory agency on the proposed project.

"... the Forest Service is deeply concerned by the location of the leases within the same watershed as the BWCAW, and by the inherent risks associated with potential copper, nickel and other sulfide mining operations within that watershed. Those risks exist during all phases of mine development, implementation and long-term closure and remediation. Potential impacts to water resources include changes in water quantity and quality, contamination from acid mine drainage, and seepage of tailings water, tailings basin failures and waste rock treatment locations," the agency noted. "Based on these concerns, the Forest Service is considering withholding consent for lease renewal."

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who also has been critical of Twin Metals' proximity to the BWCAW, has refused to allow Twin Metals to prospect on state land in the area.

Supporters say the Twin Metals mine would be a huge boost to the region's economy. The company has said it may be ready to submit the project for environmental review by 2018, if it is able to renew the leases.

In 2014, Twin Metals released the results of a "pre-feasibility" study on the mine saying the project has substantial mineral reserves, would have a low cost of production and could turn a solid profit. The report said the proposed mine would take about three years to build at a cost of $2.8 billion — by far the state's most expensive private construction project ever — and eventually would employ about 850 people mining about 50,000 tons per day, a far larger operation than the proposed PolyMet open-pit mine about 20 miles to the southwest.

The Twin Metals mine is predicted to produce valuable minerals for at least 30 years — including an estimated 5.8 billion pounds of copper and 1.2 billion pounds of nickel along with platinum, palladium, gold and silver.


WICOLA at the Harvest Moon Festival

WICOLA Booth at the 2016 Blueberry Arts Festival

Attending the Harvest Moon Festival this week? Come by the WICOLA Booth (#90) to visit, check out the AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) materials. WICOLA members and representatives from partner organizations will be at the booth to answer questions, to provide updates on AIS in Northern MN and to share AIS prevention information.

Harvest Moon Festival Hours at Whiteside Park in Ely.

Friday, September 9 – 10:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday, September 10 – 10:00am – 5:00 pm
Sunday, September 11 – 10:00am – 3:00 pm

PO Box 493
Ely, MN 55731

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


If you are interested in becoming a member or renewing your membership, follow the link below.

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