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Environmentally responsible mining will provide a $3.7 billion annual boost to Minnesota’s economy, create 8,500 jobs and generate nearly $200 million a year in tax revenue for state and local governments, according to a new report by Center of the American Experiment.
The report, Unearthing Prosperity: How Environmentally Responsible Mining Will Boost Minnesota’s Economy, evaluates the mining potential of the state’s largely untapped world-class mineral resources.
“Mining is often framed as an ‘either or’ proposition—jobs or the environment, tourism jobs or mining jobs. But this is an inaccurate portrayal of modern mining,” said Isaac Orr, a policy fellow at Center of the American Experiment who co-authored the report. “Advances in technology and strong regulations mean Minnesota can, and should, have a strong mining economy and a safe, healthy environment.”
While Minnesota ranks as the sixth-largest producer of non-fuel minerals in the U.S., it’s home to some of the largest undeveloped copper, nickel and platinum elements in the world, among other minerals. The responsible development of those resources would generate more than 1,900 direct jobs and 6,500 indirect and induced jobs with total wage of $635 million a year, according to the 46-page report.
“Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that, in St. Louis County, the average annual wage in leisure and hospitality in 2017 was $16,500. In mining it was $83,000,” said John Phelan, Policy Fellow at Center of the American Experiment and study co-author. “The people of northern Minnesota deserve the opportunities from high-paying jobs and prospects that those elsewhere in Minnesota take for granted.”
The report emphasizes the rigorousness of Minnesota’s regulatory requirements and permitting process that proposed mining operations must undergo to ensure environmental protection.
“Minnesota has some of the most comprehensive environmental regulations for mining of any state in the country – and the most transparent permitting process that gives everyone easy online access to permitting and technical documents,” said Debra Struhsacker, a hardrock mining policy expert with over 30 years of hands-on expertise and one of the report’s co-authors. “Additionally, scientists with Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources have unparalleled expertise in measuring the environmental characteristics of mined materials.”
The report’s release kicks off an American Experiment campaign publicizing the statewide benefits of more mining on radio, television, billboards and digital media. The report can be downloaded at www.MinnesotaMines.com.