2 days ago
Following the president’s recent announcement of a World Trade Organization case against China’s export restrictions on rare earth minerals, Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, penned an op-ed in The Washington Times stressing the importance of a more efficient permitting process to developing a stable, domestic supply chain of minerals essential to U.S. manufacturing, innovation and national security. Quinn argued that the president’s recent challenge “calls attention to the vital importance of minerals to the U.S. economy,” noting “the United States is distinguished from other countries by its notable lack of a forward-looking minerals policy.”
While mining has long been a part of the Michigan economy, the sector’s recent revival is bringing much-needed jobs to the state. Carol Raulston, senior vice president of communications at the National Mining Association, told the Christian Science Monitor that “everyone's hiring like crazy” in Michigan, where resident Jeff TenEyck called mining development, “the biggest shot in the arm for the economy here since Henry Ford was here.”
Vast mineral resources in Wisconsin’s backyard—including iron deposits among the largest in the world—could translate into thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in taxes from minerals mining and exploration. Yet the state is not reaping the same economic benefits as neighboring states, largely due to a cumbersome and uncertain permitting process and a lack of legislative support.
Earlier this month, Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz, along with all 16 Wisconsin Senate Democrats, voted against a bill that would have enacted a more efficient mining permitting process without compromising air- or water-quality standards. Shortly following the 17-16 vote, Gogebic Taconite announced that it would halt investment in an iron ore mine in Wisconsin’s Ashland and Iron counties—a project that would have been the state’s largest privately-funded economic development project.