Department of Interior Assistant Secretary for Land and Mineral Management Joe Balash signed the Twin Metals Hardrock Mineral Leases, moving Twin Metals a step closer to offering a mine plan of operation.

Rep. Pete Staube, R-Minn., and Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who stood alongside Balash, released the following statements after the signing.

"In northern Minnesota, mining is our past, our present, and our future," Stauber stated in a news release. "With 21st century technology, we can responsibly develop the resources needed for the modern world and unleash the economic engine of northeastern Minnesota. Unfortunately, misinformed policies of the past have not only prevented the responsible development of our resources but have even prohibited companies like Twin Metals from even submitting a proposed mining plan. I applaud Secretary Bernhardt and the Trump administration for putting politics aside and rightfully giving our miners the opportunity to meet or exceed all environmental standards."

"Following the Interior's announcement today, I am pleased that the Trump administration acknowledges that we can responsibly develop our state's resources-bringing jobs back to this region-without destroying the forests, lakes and streams that all Minnesotans hold dear," Emmer stated in a news release. "Our state and local economies deserve to prosper, and we can ensure that, while also protecting Minnesota's beauty for future generations. When it comes to protecting the environment and developing our economic assets, nobody does it better than Minnesota."