St. Paul, Minn. (March 26, 2021) – Jobs for Minnesotans, along with MiningMinnesota and Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS), released the below joint statement in response to Senator Smith’s letter today to the secretaries of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Interior (USDI) that asked to finish a mineral segregation and withdrawal study for Rainy River Watershed in northeast Minnesota:

“We are deeply concerned about this proposed mineral withdrawal and segregation action given the importance of these minerals to the security of our country’s supply chain and transition to a low-carbon future. In 2017 and today, this study is simply a back-door attempt to block even the consideration of copper-nickel mining projects across a vast area of northeastern Minnesota. Every mine proposal is unique and specific to its leases, location and mining methods. Every geological deposit the proposal sits on is different. We need to trust our government institutions and agencies to analyze each project based on science and facts in a predictable and fair way through the processes already in place.”

“You cannot have electric vehicles, solar panels or windmills without the minerals that are located in northeast Minnesota. Ninety-five percent of the U.S. nickel reserves and 88 percent of U.S. cobalt reserves are located here in northeast Minnesota. We as a country cannot just shut out an industry in one breath and then expect we have the ability to make this critical green transition in another.

“The citizens of Minnesota represented by our organizations deserve the opportunity for responsible industries to proceed through the robust environmental review process as outlined by law and potentially bring high-quality, family-sustaining jobs to the state. That includes companies currently exploring mining in the Duluth Complex located in the region outside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness set aside for mining.”

About Jobs for Minnesotans

Jobs for Minnesotans, a coalition representing business, labor and communities, supports statewide opportunities for prosperity and middle-class jobs from sustainable natural resource development in Minnesota. The organization is committed to the principle that our state can preserve both job opportunities and the environment for future generations. Jobs for Minnesotans was co-founded in 2012 by the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council representing 70,000 workers and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce representing 6,300 members and 500,000 employees. For more information, visit, follow @JobsforMN on Twitter and find the coalition on

About MiningMinnesota

MiningMinnesota is an industrial trade organization made up of all nonferrous exploration and mineral development companies in Minnesota, along with approximately 100 supplier and vendor businesses, all committed to sustainable and environmentally responsible copper-nickel and PGM mineral development and mining in Minnesota. For more information, visit

About Range Association of Municipalities and Schools

Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS) represents more than 78,000 residents and 57 public sector units of government, including 27 cities, 16 public school districts and 14 townships, in the 13,000 square mile Taconite Assistance Area (TAA) of northeast Minnesota. As an organization, RAMS has represented the interests of the Iron Range region for over 80 years. For more information, visit


Media Contacts:

Nancy Norr, Board Chair
Jobs for Minnesotans

Frank Ongaro, Executive Director

Steve Giorgi, President
Range Association of Municipalities and Schools