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Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

© Brian O'Keefe

Highlighted Value

Socio-economic Benefits

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is America’s most-visited designated wilderness area.

Located in Northeastern Minnesota, this national treasure contains 1.1 million acres of interconnected lakes and rivers surrounded by the unspoiled Superior National Forest. Here, generations of Americans have developed a lifelong love of nature through the superb fishing, canoeing, hiking and portaging experiences that can be found in the Boundary Waters’ tranquil lakes, trails and more than 1,200 miles of canoe routes.

The Threat


These clean waters and forested lands are now under immediate threat from Chilean mining giant Antofagasta and its proposed sulfide-ore copper mines. Antofagasta has a terrible history of environmental violations, disregard for local peoples and cultural heritage, and highly suspect ethical practices in its home country.

The proposed sulfide-ore copper mines would be built within the Boundary Waters watershed and could carry hazardous pollutants such as sulfuric acid and heavy metals downstream into the wilderness. Sulfide-ore copper mining is part of the most toxic industry in America, and it has never been permitted before in Minnesota. Because of the habitat sensitivity and interconnection of water in the Boundary Waters, any pollution could damage the wilderness area for generations to come.

“We know that sulfide-ore mining releases at least six of [ten environmental toxins with greatest concern to human health] including mercury, lead, arsenic, asbestos, particulate air pollution and cadmium. These toxins have known harmful effects to human health including cancer, lung disease, heart disease and neurodevelopmental disease.”
A recent letter from medical professionals to the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management
Keep sulfide-ore mining out of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are simply too wild to drill, but a bill under consideration in the House would clear the way for sulfide-ore mining in the Superior National Forest next-door to the Boundary Waters. An environmental review looking at whether to ban sulfide-ore copper mining in the Boundary Waters for up to 20 years is threatened by Minnesota Congressmen Rick Nolan and Tom Emmer, whose amendment would end the review and grant mining leases less than a mile from the Wilderness edge. Call your Representatives and tell them to protect the Boundary Waters by opposing the H.R. 3905