I saw a quote from Benjamin Franklin yesterday that got me thinking about the fight we're in. He said "Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are."
The anti-mining crowd, mostly, don't live around here. Their perspective isn't rooted in the boom and bust cycles of the mining and steel economies the way ours are. Perhaps they never lost a good-paying job, or had to leave the region to find work and housing elsewhere. I'll bet they haven't sampled the delectable "government cheese" that me and my siblings did back in the 1980's. These folks have no heritage, no family ties, and no faces and names to associate with the massive losses NE Minnesota has and will face with the decimation of all types of mining - so it's EASY not to care about our livelihoods.
By contrast, what have we learned from our vast history of living in this region? Notice how many people that work in mining have a side job, or some kind of 'fall-back' thing they hope to do if things at work go south? Why is that? Many things have changed: whether it's the threat of dumped steel, or our tax dollars paying teachers to tell our kids that the earth is more important than those who depend on it, there have never been more reasons to get vocal about our support for responsible domestic and local mining of all types.
It's easy to sit back and think that one mine closure won't affect you. Even if your situation doesn't change much, look to your neighbors and imagine their pain. I recall driving from the east range out to Minntac each work day, and about when I'd hit the halfway point there was a convenience store on the corner of Hwy 20 and Hwy 135; this is the point where I would see folks heading out to the LTV (Erie) Mine for a good job and a paycheck to match. Once LTV shut down, that corner store didn't last long and it was also no longer there for my convenience.
Many speak about the importance of shopping local and at the smaller places too. Several of those have shut down over the years and have given way to the Wal-Mart (not a fan) and places like Menards (can't help it, I do like Menards). Even though these larger outfits have great wealth and visibility, they will not be able to sustain business without the mining economies of the Iron Range - tourism and retirees doing projects in the yard will not prop up the need for sales.
If you enjoy a relatively safe place to live, without daily traffic jams, and access to good shops downtown and a few big box stores, please consider stepping up your support for Fight for Mining Minnesota. Whether it's a weekly email, the Twitter and Facebook posts, or a letter to any of our elected representatives, your voice matters. Sheer numbers matter. The body count, the head count, call it what you like - it matters. Help us help you. Let's keep the Range alive with opportunity for everyone, not just tent-campers and picture-takers.
Written by Cal Warwas - Fight For Mining Minnesota
I recently had the immeasurable pleasure of meeting with Matthew Stock and Steve Rutherford, CEO and COO of Mesabi Metallics (formerly Essar Steel), respectively. We talked about kids and nationalities, Yorkshire pudding and frog’s legs, button-box accordions and Brexit; but mostly, we talked about mining – Minnesota mining and mining all over the world. I think Mathew was a little apprehensive as to why this little Slovenian woman wanted to meet with him to discuss mining. I explained that I was involved in a new group, Fight for Mining Minnesota; and I wondered what our group might be able to do to support Mesabi Metallics. And, I wanted to soak up as much as I could from their collective knowledge of the mining industry that virtually encompasses the entire globe.
Matthew and Steve come jam-packed with mining expertise that could fill volumes of textbooks from all of their combined years in the mining industry. They’ve both traveled all over the world, observing mining practices in countless countries. Mathew noted that during his visits to China, there are days on end when it’s recommended not to venture outdoors due to the poor air quality. Looking out his windows, he could see nothing but the dirty, grayish fog that infiltrates the country from its vast mining pursuits. Cancer rates are skyrocketing in China; and health issues, particularly among children, have become a national problem. Yet China vigorously pursues mining in their endeavor for economic supremacy – fearlessly reminiscent of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward.
India’s most dangerous profession is mining, averaging a mining-associated death every ten days. Safety standards and procedures were enacted in 1973, but India’s system has failed dreadfully. India’s National Human Rights Commission notes that most mining deaths can be blamed on falls, emphasizing the necessity of higher standards and safeguards. Mineworkers often wear toeless sandals as they work the molten iron. As cheap labor, mineworkers are neither supplied with nor do they own appropriate protective garments for working in the industry. Miners are exposed to environmental hazards as well, including dust, noise, heat, and humidity. Steve inquired about injuries in this dangerous work environment. He was told that, not only do regular injuries occur, some workers have actually fallen into the molten iron. Safeguards are woefully inadequate to protect against or even curtail injury risk.
South American mining operations are plowing down the Rain Forest at an alarming rate. Wood from the forest is used to fuel mining furnaces. Children, forced into labor in this dangerous industrial environment, carry molten iron in two buckets suspended from a pole across their shoulders. In fact, according to the International Labour Organization, tens of thousands of children are forced to work both above and belowground in mining operations in Africa, Asia, and South America. This work environment is vastly more harmful to children: they breathe air saturated with dust and toxins; they work exhaustive hours in oppressive heat or stand for long hours in water. Their health is severely compromised, and they are essentially slave labor.
My mind conjured vivid, appalling images; and I couldn’t put these disturbing thoughts aside. How arrogant are American activists who ride the tide of Not-In-My-Backyard? While they vehemently lobby against U.S. mining, there are myriad countries with no regard to environmental protocol as they release billowing clouds of chemicals into our global air and swirls of chemicals and metals into our global watersheds – pervasive chemicals and poisonous metals that threaten the very land activists loudly claim needs protecting.
So safely mining minerals and metals here, on Minnesota’s Iron Range, should be set aside so that 100,000 or so people may or may not visit the Boundary Waters annually? Activists clearly trade the infinitesimal potential of mining hazard here for the lives of tens of thousands of children all over the world, forced into servitude and subjected to all sorts of unsafe mining practices. Activists would rather the Rain Forest be bulldozed at mind-boggling rates than have our own U.S. environmental regulations ensure the preservation of our global ecology. By curtailing mining here, activists support the unsafe, unguarded mining practices of countless countries all over the world rather than championing the safe mining technologies here, at home.
The world needs minerals and metals. This is clear in every waking moment of human life. But the activists arrogantly and vehemently proclaim, “Not in my backyard!” Activists, therefore, aren’t really concerned about being environmentally conscientious and socially responsible where the global ecology is concerned. Their investment is only in halting Minnesota mining, where mining has taken place for well over 100 years without environmental impact. Their investment is on a capricious cause that has no proven foundation in science – at the expense of the entirety of our global environment.
Written by Cynthia Omerza Stene
We Support Minnesota MiningWSMM Commentary Regarding John Myers Article In The Duluth News Tribune: Education and a teachable moment for Minnesota.
I'm not one to waste a teaching moment where it is applicable. The following statement was made in the below article written by John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune.
Neither Rapala nor the Downstream Coalition have expressed any views opposing traditional iron ore mining in Minnesota.
Are these groups aware of what they do support?
There is always a danger in assuming but I imagine that both this corporation and the Downstream Coalition are supporters of Democratic air, water and land use policy. It is evident they are activists regarding these issues. So what regulations are environmental activists and activist news media pushing for legislatively and via sue and settle lawsuits?
Reading material to review from the Iron Ore Alliance and the Water Legacy Website:
Posting: There is a difference between supporting mining and being opposed to specifically copper sulfide mining near the BWCA!
Posting: Copper Education - Minnesota And Flambeau Comparisons, Ore Sulfide Bodies
Most of the world's minerals come from sulfide minerals
Posting: Water Resource Documents Regarding Sulfate And Water Quality In Three Minnesota Cities
The point? Iron ore comes from sulfide bearing minerals, water standards affect ALL of mining in Minnesota along with all of the municipalities in it. This statement appears to be little more than a deflection of what is obvious to most in Minnesota as a Democratic party anti land use along with draconian water and air standards to obstruct and shut down all of mining.
This is what environmental extremist and activist groups support.
Get it right in regards to agendas being put forth in the media.
Copper mine supporters strike out at Rapala after executive's...
Some supporters of copper mining in Northeastern Minnesota are back-lashing out against an opinion column published in the St.…
Hello Mr. Zenanko,
As noted in my prior email, I'm working on a project to engage anglers and hunters in the campaign to see that the Rainy River Drainage Basin is not negatively impacted by the risks posed by proposed mining projects in the headwaters area.
The American Sportfishing Association as well as brand leaders like Rapala and St. Croix Rods have joined in support of this effort.
It would be extremely powerful to have a list of hall of fame caliber anglers show support for keeping the Rainy watershed protected. I am soliciting support from the ranks of Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame members and Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame members.
Please take a look at the simple statement below, and let me know if you would lend your name to it. We're off to a good start, as Randy and Todd Amenrud, and Ted Takasaki are the first signers. Please let me know if you'd be willing to lend your name, and if you know of others you feel would sign on. I have a solid list of prospects, but don't have contact details for a lot of them.
The Rainy River Drainage Basin is home to some of the finest freshwater fishing in all of North America. As anglers, we are extremely concerned about proposals to develop sulfide-ore copper mines in the headwaters that feed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Voyageurs National Park, and Rainy Lake watershed. The type of mining proposed has not been proven to be done elsewhere without negative impacts to water resources. In a region as valuable as the Rainy Lake watershed, we feel that the risks are simply too great, and that its unique clean water and fishery resources must be protected.
Thanks very much, and please let me know if you have any questions!
Sporting Outreach Coordinator
Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters
The Minnesota Man with a Brain Responds
Thanks for your email. I too, love to fish the waters in the area you mention. And, I would not support any mining project that posed a threat to those waters. I do know that the MDNR has very strict rules concerning the way mining is done in this state. If, during the permitting process, it becomes clear that the design of the mining plan is not adequately protective of the environment, I would be one of the first to register my opposition.
With environmental protection as #1, I also recognize that our society requires these metals, and they do have to come from somewhere. In my view, with Minnesota having some of the toughest mining rules in the world, I see the environmental benefit in having those metals come from the most regulated places on earth, even if it is "in my backyard". As you know, much of copper we use daily comes from Peru, Chili, and Indonesia, where environmental rules are almost non-existent. I can't do much about that, except when a well-designed mine and properly permitted and operated mine comes along in my backyard, I think its the environmental-minded thing to do to support it.
I've seen some of the worst mines from century's past in my fishing travels, and if that's how they were planning on doing it, I'd be totally opposed. But I've also seen that copper mine over there by Ladysmith, Wisconsin - right next to the river, where they mined all that copper in the 90's for years and now today you'd never know a mine was ever there. Lots of us were concerned when that one went it, but sure enough, it worked out, and all the terrible predictions of how it would ruin the river were not borne out. If you saw it, you would be as shocked as I was to drive right up to the mine to ever know it was there. It wasn't noisy or dusty or anything - just like a big gravel pit is all.
So sign me up for one who feels strongly that the permitting process should be fair and thorough, and if they can engineer it to meet the standards, then I would support it. If not, then I would not support it. I plan to enjoy fishing the boundary water for the rest of my life
MN Resident and Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Angler