Eye On Mining: Gov. Walz Talks Copper-Nickel Mining

In this week’s Eye On Mining, CBS 3 reporter Kristen Vake spoke with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to talk about copper-nickel mining in our state.

Our research on this topic has shown that mining for copper, nickel, platinum, cobalt, and titanium would be an enormous boost to Minnesota’s economy. Our conservative estimates show expanded mining would add $3.7 billion to our economy every year, create 1,900 mining jobs, and support a total of 8,500 jobs in the region.

Governor Walz talked a good game in the interview by saying he supported copper-nickel mining in Minnesota and that we must follow the science. Hopefully he means it, for the sake of Minnesota’s economy, and the health of the planet.

Remember, if we don’t mine in Minnesota where environmental protections are stringent, we will import these metals from somewhere like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they are not.

While Walz said the right things in this interview, I am skeptical of his selection of Sarah Strommen as the new commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources because she has held high ranking positions at groups such as Friends of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a group that opposes copper-nickel mining and wants to stop the PolyMet mine.

Time will tell whether the Walz administration is actually in favor of more mining in Minnesota. We will continue to cover this issue as it develops and keep the pressure on lawmakers not to backtrack on this issue now that the elections are over because mining+environment= a stronger Minnesota.

You can see the entire interview below:

Follow the Science. That’s what Minnesota’s newest Governor Tim Walz has to say about the future of Copper-Nickel mining in Minnesota.

“I’m not Pollyannish but I do know there are solutions.”

Walz is referring to the heated debate between those in support and those opposition.

“We know that these are flash issues. They’re flash issues from Ely, down to folks who live in Mankato who use the boundary waters or use Northeast Minnesota.”

When asked if he was in support of copper-nickel mining, Walz stated the following:

“Yes, I am because I use the materials I know that we have, and that is incredibly important in the clean energy economy from solar panels, to electric vehicles.”

That’s why the Walz Administration is putting heavy focus on the permitting process, as well as making sure the public is informed.

“We must have the most stringent environmental impact statements, we must follow the science on this, and we must have permitting that is clear defined and doesn’t move so that people know the process. By doing that, it helps us build the trust of the public whether we’re able to do it or not.”

Walz said he’s optimistic that his administration can help folks come together on the issue and find common ground.

“We have mined on the Iron Range for a long time and we’ve done so in collaboration with environmental communities. This is a very challenging one. There are those who tell me copper-nickel mining cannot and never will be done safely. I hear you, I listen to you. I want to make sure though that we’re following the science and those who say we need to do this both for the prosperity of the Range and the capacity for us to be able to lead in a clean energy economy.”