DNR considers request to explore manganese deposit in Crow Wing County

Town of Emily
A sign for the city of Emily, Minn., in 2009. A company called North Star Manganese, Inc. is asking the Department of Natural Resources for permission to explore a manganese mineral deposit near Emily, Minn.
Tom Robertson | MPR News 2009

A company called North Star Manganese, Inc. is asking the Department of Natural Resources for permission to explore a manganese mineral deposit near Emily, Minn.

Historically the demand for manganese has been primarily driven by the steel industry. But in recent years, the mineral has become increasingly important for the manufacturing of green energy technologies, including electric vehicle batteries.

North Star has submitted a request to lease 800 acres in Crow Wing County.

“Leasing is the very first stage in mineral exploration and development in Minnesota. It’s not an actual proposal to build a mine,” Aaron Klemz, chief strategy officer at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, told Minnesota Now host Cathy Wurzer.

If the request is approved by the DNR and the State Executive Council, the company would be granted the economic right to own the mineral rights found underground, regardless of who owns the surface rights.

“A lot of folks who are not be familiar with mineral rights, might not understand that when they own property, what they own is the surface right to that property,” Klemz said. “Underlying your property is what we call mineral rights. Those mineral rights are owned, often times, by somebody other than you. And mineral rights trump surface rights. In other words, if you own the mineral rights to extract minerals, you can get access to them even if the surface owner doesn’t want you to.”

The DNR is seeking public comment on this proposal for state mineral leases until 4:30p.m. Saturday. For more information on this and other state mineral leases, visit the DNR’s website.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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