Chamber, unions form pro-mining groupTwo groups often on opposing sides of heated issues have joined hands to promote Minnesota’s fledgling copper mining industry and other big construction projects.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
Two groups often on opposing sides of heated issues have joined hands to promote Minnesota’s fledgling copper mining industry and other big construction projects.
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest business group, and the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council have formed “Jobs for Minnesotans” to promote development of the state’s first-ever copper mining operations.
The new coalition is expected to lobby the Legislature and likely the public through advertising campaigns.
“Working together, labor and business created the group to educate and provide information to Minnesotans about significant job and economic opportunities facing our state,” a statement on the effort noted.
While the groups have butted heads on issues like right to work legislation and workers compensation insurance reforms, they are now on the same team to promote proposed projects like the PolyMet and Twin Metals copper mines that promise to tap thousands of construction workers as the mines and processing plants are built.
“We know all Minnesotans will benefit from this industry — from border to border — and with that will come new revenue for the state, our schools and all of our priorities together as Minnesotans,” said David Olson, Minnesota Chamber president, in a statement announcing the effort earlier this week.
Harry Melander, president of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council, said construction workers still face high unemployment rates in Minnesota and the new coalition will help move the big mining projects forward.
“The strategic metals mining industry has immense promise for our state and the coalition is targeting that opportunity to put thousands of Minnesotans back to work,” Melander said in announcing the effort.
Organizers note that Northeastern Minnesota has one of the world’s largest deposits of untapped copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, cobalt and gold.
“The strategic metals mining industry, once operational, has the potential to produce thousands of jobs across industry sectors. The coalition will be a platform for supporters to stay educated and learn how to get involved to support job creation in Minnesota,” the new coalition said.
The coalition’s website is www.jobsforminnesotans.org.