STATEMENT: Save the Boundary Waters statement on Antofagasta’s Twin Metals Minnesota hiring former Minnesota Senator Tom Bakk as a lobbyist

Feb 15, 2023
Libby London

For Immediate Release

February 15, 2023 

Recent news that former Minnesota Senator Tom Bakk is lobbying for big tobacco and Twin Metals Minnesota points to more evidence that Antofagasta, a Chilean mining conglomerate, is buying up “public servants” to push through mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters. 

ELY, MN)--Today Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters National Chair Becky Rom issued the following statement on Antofagasta’s Twin Metals Minnesota hiring former Minnesota Senator Tom Bakk as a lobbyist:

“The fact that Tom Bakk is lobbying for indoor and outdoor pollution, for the most dangerous industries in America - toxic mining upstream of the Boundary Waters and tobacco, and filed as a registered lobbyist less than a month after stepping down from his position as a Minnesota Senator, points to the extent of Antofagasta’s corruption. The mining conglomerate is buying up “public servants” to push through sulfide-ore mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters. Last year alone, Antofagasta spent over a million dollars to lobby the U.S. government for its Twin Metals project near the Boundary Waters[1], half of which went to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s firm to lobby at the federal level.”

Twin Metals does not have federal leases to mine the public’s minerals on the public’s land. Antofagasta’s Twin Metals, which sought to develop a sulfide-ore mine on the doorstep of the Boundary Waters, had its federal mining leases cancelled last year by the Biden Administration. Interior Secretary Haaland signed a Public Land Order on January 26th to withdraw 225,504 acres of Superior National Forest lands and minerals in the headwaters of the Wilderness from the federal mineral leasing program for twenty years. Three deposits that Twin Metals sought to mine are located in the withdrawal area, which is now off-limits to dangerous mining upstream of the Wilderness.

70% of Minnesotans support a ban on sulfide-ore copper mining in the Boundary Waters headwaters. The Boundary Waters is the most heavily visited wilderness area in the United States, attracting more than 165,000 visitors from all over the world. It is a major driver of the regional economy, supporting hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs. A vast collection of peer-reviewed science shows that if a Twin Metals copper-nickel mine were built along the rivers and streams flowing into the Wilderness, pollution and environmental degradation would be certain.  A peer-reviewed independent study from Harvard University showed that protection of the Boundary Waters from a proposed Twin Metals sulfide-ore copper mine would result in dramatically more jobs and more income over a 20-year period. 




 [1] Antofagasta plc lobbying profile. OpenSecrets. Retrieved February 13, 2023, from