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DNR names new head of mining division

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ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named a new director of the Lands and Minerals Division.

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Jess Richards, an 18-year veteran of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, will take over as head of the DNR division in charge of mining related activities and regulation starting Monday.

The move comes as the DNR is in the midst of considering several major expansions of the state’s taconite mining and processing industry as well as new ventures into copper mining, the first in state history. The DNR’s Lands and Minerals Division manages mineral exploration and mine development on state-owned and tax-forfeited lands and also has a regulatory role and reviews applications for permits to mine.

The division has about 100 employees and an annual budget of about $10 million.

Richards replaces Larry Kramka, who left the DNR recently to take a position with a private engineering company.

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