Guest post: Minerals: The bedrock of Nevada and our nation’s economy

Posted on June 21, 2013 by Minerals Make Life

As the largest mineral producer in the United States, Nevada —and Elko city more specifically— relies on the mining industry not just for its meaningful economic contributions and criticality to domestic manufacturing, but also for its role as a community partner.

In 2011 alone, Nevada produced more than $11 billion worth of minerals and metals critical to American innovation, national security and manufacturing while supporting more than 25,000 jobs. In the same year, minerals mined in Nevada like gold, copper and silver added nearly $8 billion to the economy.  In fact, the gold produced in Nevada accounts for more than 75 percent of the mineral’s total production in the United States and approximately 6.8 percent of all gold produced in the world.  Without Nevadan gold, everyday essentials like our cellphones, computers and microwaves would practically cease to exist.

In addition to the tangible benefits mining brings, it has also helped Elko and other cities in the area escape one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates. As 9.6 percent of Nevadans currently face unemployment, many of Elko’s citizens enjoy family wage salaries and benefits from the industry while countless others work in jobs supported by local mining. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2011 average salary for a metal ore miner was $85,504—79 percent higher than the combined average of all private sector jobs ($47,815). Moreover, job opportunities in the mining industry continue to serve as a tremendous resource to Elko’s returning veterans. 

Even those outside the industry are positively impacted by minerals mining as local businesses enjoy greater sales and customers from the influx of residents to the area, who have realized the benefits mining brings to local communities. In my community, the mining industry and its employees are tremendous assets outside of their economic impact. They continue to take part in local festivities such as a recent golf tournament benefiting the Elko Boys and Girls Club and an ongoing matching program wherein employee contributions are matched by the mining company which has raised close to $1 million each year for Elko area nonprofits.  

It’s abundantly clear that minerals are not only the bedrock of our economy, but a trusted community partner and asset as well. I encourage other towns and cities across the country to support this industry and hope they too have an opportunity to reap the benefits of domestic minerals mining.

Chris Johnson is Mayor of Elko City, Nevada

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