Infographic: The Boundary Waters and Sulfide Mining


For years, the Boundary Waters has been threatened by Twin Metals, the Chilean owned mining company trying to open a copper-sulfide mine less than a mile from the edge of the BWCA.

A natural byproduct of this type of mining is sulfuric acid, which is the same thing as battery acid. Everywhere a copper mines has opened, sulfuric acid, along with mercury and other harmful heavy metals, have seeped into the ground water. In a water-rich environment like the Boundary Waters, the risk of a sulfide mine contaminating the water system is all but guaranteed.

Twin Metals Infographic

It’s not a question of if, but when.

The fight to stop coper sulfide mining in Minnesota has been a long one, and it won’t be over any time soon.

In fact, the fight has turned into something of a saga. For many, it’s easy to get lost and know exactly where things stand.

Simply put: It’s been a roller coaster of a ride.

In 2016, the Obama administration announced that it would not renew Twin Metals’ mineral leases. This essentially put a stop to their project. In addition, the Department of Agriculture (which oversees the Forest Service) announced it would begin a study that would look into the possibility of putting a moratorium on mining in 234,000 acres of the Superior National Forest.

Things were looking up.

Then the 2016 election happened. In the following years, the Trump administration has done enormous favors for these foreign-owned mining companies and rolled back these hard-won protections.

Recently, we’ve talked about the documents that have emerged showing the close relations between Twin Metals and the Trump Administration. We’ve also seen legislators begin to look at the sketchy relations between Twin Metals and the Department of the Interior.

Our lawsuit against the Trump administration is currently working its way through the courts.

To help supporters and lovers of wilderness and clean water get caught up on where we are with in the long fight for Minnesota’s great treasure, we’ve worked with the talented Kaitlyn Sapone to create this poster.

Click on anywhere on image to download a high resolution copy to print and share

Click on anywhere on image to download a high resolution copy to print and share

In case you had trouble reading the text, here’s the timeline:


After several extensive studies and an uproar of public opposition to the mine, the Forest Service concludes the risk posed by a copper-sulfide mine within the watershed of this iconic and irreplaceable wilderness is unacceptable. After a long fight, it looks like the Boundary Waters is safe.


Shortly after taking office, Trump begins to cater to special interests and strips environmental protections away from the area.

In defiance of sound science, public opinion, and a pripr legal ruling, the Trump administration announces it will reinstate the expired mineral leases, paving the way for the foreign-owned mining company, Twin Metals, to begin operation.


After the administration bends the laws to give away our public land to foreign interests, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness sues. The lawsuit filed by the Friends and their partners is about protecting clean water, our wilderness, and about upholding the dignity of the law.


As the lawsuit moves through the courts, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal Antofagasta’s CEO actively lobbied the Trump administration to push through a policy that would clear the way for them to mine near the BWCAW.

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