Minnesota’s “Gold” Mine

The most recent speaker at our MN Republican Women’s meeting, Vern Baker, President of Duluth Metals, gave a terrific presentation on MN’s Iron Range “gold” mine (my term) potential.

As he stated, societies depend on two basic industries: Grow it or mine it. Everything we use either comes from the farm or below the ground. MN is fortunate in that it is strong in both.

The graph below shows MN’s mining potential – incredible. NO OTHER STATE has rocks similar to those in MN. (1)


Based on what we know now, MN is #3 in the US for metal mining, just behind AZ and NV. But, those ore veins on the Iron Range may prove to be even more valuable.

How do we get these metals mined? First, let’s look at what Duluth Metals has already invested in their quest to make MN a mining “gold” mine: $250,000,000 spent just filing applications to mine. They expect an additional six years of bureaucratic hassle before they can start mining. Take a look at summary list of hurdles that must be cleared before actual mining begins:

Federal Agencies: EPA, USFS (Forestry Service), US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, BLM

State Agencies: DNR plus 11 (yes, eleven) permits from various agencies.

Yet Americans have made enormous environmental progress compared to mining in the 1880’s, (the apparent time mindset of the “no-growth” crowd).  Since 1990, no mining sites or approved mining plans have been placed on the Superfund (CERCLA NPL) penalty list. (2)

If we just look at copper mining, of which MN has 34% of the US resource, the estimated benefit to our state would be $320,000,000,000 with more copper is expected to be found over time, The irony, much of that copper growth currently is used in products the enviros love, (see below). Yet, MN reserves of copper would be a source for any use of copper.

            – one 3mw wind turbine has 4.7 tons or 9,400#s of copper.

            – regular cars use 32#s of copper

            – hybrids, 75#s of copper

            – electric cars, 150-180#s of copper.

Polymet? A problem? No. Rainwater has approximately 7x the amount of mercury as Polymet will discharge AFTER using the water. In other words, Polymet mining will result in CLEANER water.

Summary: MN mining potential has enough resources to last for 100s of years. They will provide well paying jobs for Minnesotans:

                                                Ave. Monthly              H.S. Dip.          Bach. Degree (3)


Total, All Industries                   $4,435                           $3,291                $6,361

Mining and Quarrying                  7,183                            6,641                  9,548       

Minnesota’s mines are and will be the greenest on the planet. Let’s just mine them!

(1) Source: integration of USGS commodity reports with published data from NN’s mines/projects

(2) BLM Reports to US Senator Lisa Murkowski, 7/21/2011

(3) Source: DEED Quarterly Workforce Indicators Program