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The proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota received another setback Wednesday night when a federal judge tossed a suit from the company that sought to reinstate crucial permissions to mine.

The planned mine near Ely was to be located in the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The Biden Administration cancelled Twin Metals' mineral rights in January 2022, and the company filed a suit to have them returned in August of that same year.

But in the latest ruling, U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper dismissed the case, agreeing with federal agencies and several intervenor environmental groups that the court didn't have jurisdiction to hear some of Twin Metals' arguments. For other arguments, he wrote that the company had failed to lay out a claim that could progress in court.

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness was one of the groups that became an intervenor, arguing against Twin Metals' rights being reinstated.

"Twin Metals was making a Hail Mary pass in its hope to get around the law and facts," the group's executive director, Chris Knopf, wrote in an email. "The court saw through this and in its decision to toss out the case, affirmed science, affirmed the law, and protected some of the cleanest water in the country."

It is unclear if Twin Metals will appeal the ruling or bring another legal action that might fare better. The plaintiffs were Twin Metals, a subsidiary of Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, and Franconia Minerals, a subsidiary of Twin Metals.

In a statement, spokeswoman Kathy Graul wrote that the company was "disappointed" by the decision and was "working to determine next steps."

When the company filed its original suit, Dean DeBeltz, Twin Metals' director of operations, wrote that the company wanted "a fair and consistent environmental review of our proposed mining project."

Like other hardrock mine projects— which are still new to Minnesota — Twin Metals argues that it would supply needed metals for the energy transition. But no other hardrock mine proposal is so directly connected to the Boundary Waters, a unique, federally protected wilderness area cherished by generations of Minnesotans.

The mine has faced an uphill battle in recent years in part because of the potential that hardrock sulfide mining could release acid drainage into waters that flow to the pristine preserve of more than 1 million acres of streams, lakes and boreal forest.

In 2022, a U.S. Forest Service study found that even with safeguards in place, contamination would still be possible.

Almost exactly a year after the mineral rights cancellation, the Biden Administration also banned mining for 20 years on 225,000 acres of federal forest land — including the site Twin Metals was going to operate on.

Like the Boundary Waters itself, this protected land within the Superior National Forest is ceded by native Ojibwe people, who retain rights to hunt, fish and gather there.