Washington, D.C. (March 21, 2013) – Minnesota labor and business joined forces today in Washington, D.C., urging Congress to adopt more efficient permitting processes for strategic metals mining.  

Harry Melander, president of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council and Ruthe Batulis, president of the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce and member of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, testified before the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources about Minnesota’s burgeoning strategic metals mining opportunities. Representing Jobs for Minnesotans, a coalition of labor organizations, businesses and business associations, Melander and Batulis shared insight with the subcommittee as to the breadth and scope of Minnesota’s copper, nickel, platinum, palladium and gold deposits.

“Minnesota is on the very edge of becoming one of the most significant producers of strategic metals in the world,” Melander explained to the subcommittee. “For my members, a recent University of Minnesota Duluth study shows that strategic metals projects could mean the potential for 1,300 jobs in Minnesota. A job surge of this magnitude on the Iron Range would have a significant, lasting impact on our state’s, and region’s economy.”

Batulis pointed to Minnesota’s history as not only a state steeped in a mining culture, but also one that has revolved around agriculture and the timber industry. “Minnesota is fortunate to have an abundance of natural resources,” she said.

While mining the vast minerals located in the deposit – perhaps the second largest strategic metals deposit anywhere in the world according to industry estimates – will not only create thousands of construction and permanent jobs, Batulis explained that her members are excited about the “thousands of associated and spinoff jobs created as a result.”

Batulis painted a picture of industries being created to utilize and maximize on the use of metals such as platinum, copper and nickel.

“Imagine Minnesota’s medical device manufacturing industry with the opportunity to creatively utilize strategic metals mined right here in Minnesota. That is on the horizon,” she said.

The two executives showcased how Minnesota leaders have come together – in business and government – in the pursuit of jobs. Melander pointed out that efficient permitting can be something that “policymakers of all political stripes can and should stand together to support.”

“On behalf of the 50,000 men and women I represent through the Building and Construction Trades Council, and the growing Jobs for Minnesotans Coalition I am leading with my state chamber counterpart, I’d ask that you too stand together for jobs and pass significant permitting efficiency legislation here in Washington,” Melander concluded.

The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources received testimony from various industry groups regarding permitting efficiency throughout the morning.

About Jobs for Minnesotans
Jobs for Minnesotans is a coalition of organizations committed to promoting job creation in the state of Minnesota. Co-founded by the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Jobs for Minnesotans represents the interests of Minnesota businesses, middle class workers, labor, local governments and other supporters of job creation.

Jobs for Minnesotans was created to educate and provide information about direct and spinoff job creation that the responsible development of strategic metals mining (copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, cobalt and gold) can produce for the state.


Media Contact:
Tony Kwilas