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MN DNR hires director of lands and minerals

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has hired a veteran state-government manager and expert in mining sector permitting and environmental review to head the agency's Lands and Minerals Division.

Jess Richards has spent the last 18 years with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, most recently serving as assistant director of the MPCA's Resource Management and Assistance Division.

He previously served as the MPCA's mining sector manager, where he oversaw mining permits, environmental review and other mining-related work.

Richards also worked as the MPCA's enforcement supervisor and biofuels sector manager.

The DNR's Lands and Minerals Division manages mineral exploration and mine development on state-owned and tax-forfeited lands.

Richards' past experience working with the MPCA, his understanding of the mining industry and familiarity with the DNR regulatory program will serve him well in his new role, said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "Jess' deep understanding of the permitting process and the mining industry will be a major asset for the DNR," Landwehr said. "We are delighted he has joined our management team."

Richards begins his job at the DNR on Sept. 4.