The decision to sell leases that would allow mining firms to explore for minerals on private land in north eastern Minnesota was delayed.
The state panel which is being led by Governor Mark Dayton is to wait for another six months before considering the proposal.
Some 77 leases have been sought in Minnesota by non-ferrous mining firms. However land and cabin owners in the area are unhappy at the thought of the pollution that the process of mining would bring to their privately owned lands.
The residents of the Ely and Isabella regions have now been granted a six month reprieve before the government reconsiders the proposal. The Executive Counsel of the state voted unanimously to ensure that the six month delay went through. Governor Mark Dayton and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie both supported the vote.
Governor Dayton said that many people were not aware of old state laws written in the 1870s which allowed the state to own the mineral rights under people’s homes and cabins. He added that the state’s entire mining lease procedures may need updating.
The residents said that they will use the time period to challenge the antiquated laws and petition the Legislature to allow them stronger rights to refuse mining access to their lands. They also want the option to buy their own mineral rights to ensure that no company narrows in on their land. This is currently not an option available to them based on the ancient state law.