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State leaders delay decision on mineral leases

State leaders delay decision on mineral leases Click to Enlarge Photo:

Oct 6, 2011 at 9:54 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A state panel led by Gov. Mark Dayton has delayed by six months a decision on whether to sell leases that allow mining companies to search for minerals on privately owned land in northern Minnesota.

The vote Wednesday by the state's Executive Council is meant to give landowners opposed to the mineral exploration a chance to raise the issue with state lawmakers and try to convince them to change state statute in a way that's more favorable to property owners.

Selling mineral leases to mining companies has been a state practice for decades but has raised more alarms recently as interest rises in the potential for billions of dollars worth of copper, nickel and other minerals believed to lie under forests, lakes, streams and swamps of northern Minnesota.

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