Minnesota’s Vast Mineral Resources

The Duluth Complex in Minnesota is one of the largest undeveloped mineral deposits in the world. The nearly 8 billion tons deposit of copper, nickel and precious metals have been here for millions of years, and we’ve known about them for more than 60. What is new, however, is the technology to extract and process them in an economically and environmentally responsible way.

The metals are located within a volcanic outcropping called the Duluth Complex, named for the city located at its southernmost tip. At least nine areas that have been explored within the complex are rich with copper, nickel and precious metals deposits. This resource has huge significance for its potential to benefit the state’s economy and provide high-paying jobs for Minnesotans.

Providing the Metals We Use Every Day

Rapidly increasing use of copper and nickel, especially in the developing world, has driven up demand and prices. Currently, the United States imports much of its supply—nearly 40 percent of its copper and almost all of its nickel. Here in Minnesota, we have the opportunity to change that with environmentally responsible mining.

The Duluth Complex holds the world’s:

  • 2nd largest copper deposit (34 percent of U.S. resource)
  • 3rd largest nickel deposit (95 percent of U.S. resource)
  • 2nd largest platinum-group metals deposit (75 percent of U.S. resource)

Copper, nickel and precious metals are critical to our way of life. They are also essential to a green economy, providing materials we need for electric vehicles and wind turbines.

Here are just a few ways these metals are used.

Download our metals uses PDF to learn more.


  • wind turbines
  • piping
  • roofing and gutters
  • electronic components


  • hospital and kitchen equipment
  • aircraft engines
  • gas and power plant turbines

Platinum Group Metals

  • catalytic converters
  • scientific instruments
  • dental instruments
  • electrodes
  • jet engine fuel nozzles
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