(Northland's NewsCenter)---Non-ferrous mining companies may now explore for copper-nickel and other minerals on private lands in northeastern Minnesota.
A group of state leaders in the State Executive council voted unanimously to approve the sale of 77 state owned mineral leases.
Land owners and mining officials spoke out about the impact of this mineral exploration during the hearing today in St. Paul.
Many landowners expressed concern about damage to their property from drilling rigs, boring into the ground to gather core samples for analysis.
Several mining officials said if the exploration shows the presence of non ferrous minerals it could mean many jobs and significant economic growth for the region.
"What is there for us as land owners to get recovery and to make sure that if this thing doesn't pan out, and mining companies decide to leave, who's going to clean the mess up?" Gordy Meyer, a cabin owner said.
"I would encourage the council to approve these lease sales to send a signal to the investment companies, that Minnesota is in fact, a friendly place to do business," Steve Vincent, a investment banker said.
The Executive council is comprised of five state officials, including Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.