The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has denied a petition seeking an environmental review before the state awards its next round of mining leases.
A group of northeastern Minnesota residents petitioned for an environmental assessment worksheet in September, saying the potential for new nonferrous metals prospecting could have a significant impact on sensitive natural resources and property values.
Three companies submitted bids for the leases, which cover about 9,500 acres.
In an order this month, the DNR denied the petition but said it will reconsider whether environmental reviews are needed if prospectors submit plans for actual exploration on the parcels.
Kathy Lewis, assistant director of the Division of Lands and Minerals, said Tuesday the DNR will present its recommendations on the leases to the State Executive Council on Dec. 6.