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Recycling Won’t Cut It- We’ll Need New Mines

Opponents of copper and nickel mining in Northern Minnesota sometimes suggest that new mines for copper and nickel will not be needed because metal recycling can fill the gap. Data from the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) say otherwise.

According to the USGS mineral commodity surveys, recycled copper accounted for about 8 percent of U.S. copper use in 2017, and copper imports accounted for 33 percent of consumption. Similarly, recycled nickel in the United States accounted for 39 percent of consumption, with nickel imports constituting 59 percent of consumption.

Better mining policies in the United States can increase domestic production of copper and nickel to meet a greater percentage of our domestic metal needs. Currently, there is only one nickel mine in operation in the United States, the Eagle Mine in the Upper Peninsula  of Michigan, which also produces copper.

Michigan has embraced responsible mineral development, when will Minnesota?

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