The Latest: Minnesota mining company will fight lawsuit

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2011, file photo, a core sample drilled from underground rock near Ely, Minn., shows a band of shiny minerals containing copper, nickel and precious metals, center, that Twin Metals Minnesota LLC, hopes to mine near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeastern Minnesota. Nine Minnesota businesses that rely on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area sued the Interior Department and its Bureau of Land Management on Thursday, June 21, 2018, challenging their decision to reinstate the federal mineral rights leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine. (AP Photo/Steve Karnowski, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Latest on a lawsuit challenging mineral rights leases for a planned Minnesota mine (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

A company that wants to build a copper-nickel mine near the northeastern Minnesota town of Ely says it will fight a lawsuit that seeks to revoke its federal mineral rights leases.

Nine Minnesota businesses that rely on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area sued the Interior Department on Thursday, challenging its decision to reinstate the leases that Twin Metals needs for its mine.

The company says in a statement that it "firmly believes" there's no basis for a court to disturb the agency's decision, and that it will take "appropriate steps" to defend the government's actions.

The Interior Department reinstated Twin Metals' leases last month after the Obama administration declined to renew them, citing the potential harm to the Boundary Waters wilderness, which is downstream from the proposed mine site.

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9:15 a.m.

Nine Minnesota businesses that rely on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area have sued the Interior Department, challenging its decision to reinstate the federal mineral rights leases for the planned Twin Metals copper-nickel mine near Ely.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in the District of Columbia on Thursday says the department's decision was unlawful and poses an immediate threat to businesses, the environment and the outdoor recreation economy. The plaintiffs include outfitters, a resort and Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness.

The Interior Department reinstated Twin Metals' expired leases last month after the Obama administration declined to renew them, citing the potential harm to the Boundary Waters. The proposed mine site is upstream from the popular wilderness area.

A Twin Metals spokesman says the company has no immediate comment.