In case the commissioner of natural resources shall determine that any paint rock, taconite, or other iron-bearing material belonging to the state is needed and suitable for use in the construction or maintenance of any road, tailings basin, settling basin, dike, dam, bank fill, or other works on public or private property, and that such use would be in the best interests of the public, the commissioner may authorize the disposal of such material therefor as hereinafter provided.
If such material is subject to an existing state iron ore mining lease or located on property subject to an existing state iron ore mining lease, the commissioner, by written agreement with the holder of the lease, may authorize the use of the material for any purpose specified in subdivision 1 that will facilitate the mining and disposal of the iron ore therein on such terms as the commissioner may prescribe consistent with the interests of the state, or may authorize the holder of the lease to dispose of the material otherwise for any purpose specified in subdivision 1 upon payment of an amount therefor equivalent to the royalty that would be payable under the terms of the lease if the material were shipped or otherwise disposed of as iron ore, but not less than the applicable minimum rate prescribed by section 93.20.
If such material, whether in the ground or in stockpile, is not subject to an existing lease, the commissioner may issue leases for the taking and removal thereof for the purposes specified in subdivision 1 in like manner as provided by section 92.50 for leases for the taking and removal of sand, gravel, and other materials specified in said section, and subject to all the provisions thereof, so far as applicable.
If such material is in stockpile and is not subject to an existing lease, the commissioner may sell stockpiled iron-bearing material in place. The sale must be to a person holding an interest in the surface of the property upon which the stockpile is located or to a person holding an interest in publicly or privately owned stockpiled iron-bearing material located in the same stockpile.